Skip to main content

Due to a planned power outage, our services will be reduced on Tuesday, June 15th, starting at 8:30am PDT until the work is complete. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Full text of "Songs & sonnets of Pierre de Ronsard"

See other formats




Rare Books Dept. 






Copyright 1903 by Curtis Hidden Page 
All rights reserved 































C. H. P. 


'Poet of the '^Renaissance 

N the self-same year of this so unhappy 
defeat of our arms at Pavia," says De 
Thou in the eighty-second book of his 
' ' Universal History, " < there came into 
the world Pierre de Ronsard ; as though 
God had sought to compensate France 
for the debasement of her fame which that battle wrought 
(jacturam nominis Gallici eo praelio factam*), and for 
the almost utter ruin of our fortunes which followed 
thereupon (jet secutum ex illo veluti nostrarum rerum 
interitum}, by the birth of so great a man. ' ' If the ven- 
erable judge and grave historian could speak in this way, 
we need not wonder at the attitude of Ronsard' s bio- 
grapner and disciple, Binet. " Great as was the misfor- 
tune of this unhappy disaster," he says, "it may well 
be doubted whether on that Fate-marked day there came 
not to France a benefit and glory yet greater, by the 
happy birth of her poet." 

Ronsard was born, not, as Binet would have it, on the 
very day of the battle at which King Francis I. was de- 
feated and captured by Charles V. , but within a year of 
it, and by the Old Style calendar, in the same year. The 
exact date is probably September 1 1, 1524. He came 
of one of the noble families of France, going back at least 
to the reign of Philip of Valois ; and his mother's family 

was allied, by various marriages, with the very greatest 
of the nation, the Montpensiers, the Condes, and the 
Guises themselves, branches of the royal blood. The 
Chateau de la Poissonniere, Ronsard's birthplace, is 
still standing, in the heart of that Loire country which is 
the very centre of France and the home of the Renais- 
sance chateaux ; not by La Loire itself, however, but 
by the smaller river Le Loir, which flows through Ven- 
dome. Like other chateaux of the region, this one has 
its great central chimney built of hewn stones, on which 
are carved the armorial bearings of the family ; you may 
still see there the flames and roses that represent Ron- 
sard, for the name, said ancient heraldry, is from Ronce, 
the briar-rose, and ardre, to burn. Though modern ety- 
mology may disprove the derivation, it cannot take away 
the significance. He was the poet of flame and the poet 
of roses, if ever one was. The flowers themselves, when 
he was born or so the old biography would have us 
think knew that he was come to be their poet. " The 
day of his birth," says Binet, "had like to have been 
that of his burial ; for, as he was carried to be baptized, 
she that carried him, while crossing a field, dropped him 
unwittingly. But on tender grass and on flowers he fell, 
that received him the more softly." 

Loys de Ronsard, the poet's father, was a man of 
some importance, Knight of the Order of St. Michael, 
and Maitre d' Hotel to Francis I. He was chosen, after 
the battle of Pavia, to take the King's two sons to Spain 
as hostages, and obtain their father's release ; and he 
was employed on other missions of trust. He was some- 
thing of a poet, too, at odd moments ; that is, he could 
write fair verse in Marot's vein. But he was a gentle- 

man of the old school, untouched by the Renaissance 
idea of the nobility of poetry ; and he would not let a son 
of his take such trifling seriously. In the " Epistle to 
Pierre Lescot," which is a sort of autobiography, Ron- 
sard tells us : 

Often my father scolded me, and said : 
(f Why waste thy days, poor fool, and tire "hy head, 
Courting Apollo and the Muses nine ! 
What shalt thou gain from all thy friends divine, 
Save but a lyre, a bow, a string, a song 
That like to smoke is quickly lost, along 
The wind, and like the dust in air dispersed" 

So the wise father admonishes, bidding him 

" Leave this poor trade that ne* er advanced a man, 
Even the most skilful "... 

nor ever even fed him, he adds witness your Homer 
himself, who " had never a red " (n'eut jamais un 
Hard) : 

"His Muse, whose voice, men say, was passing sweet, 
Could never feed him, and in hunger sore 
He begged his wretched bread from door to door." 

Be a lawyer, advises the father : then you can 
" Talk all you please, at some poor man* s expense " 

Or embrace the " moneyed skill " of Medicine, that 
other daughter of Apollo to whom he gave all goods and 
honors, leaving her sister Poetry only a ' musty lyre. ' ' 
Or best of all be courtier and soldier ; for the king is 
quick to reward those who serve him in war. In short, 
be anything save poet ! But, says Ronsard : 

How hard it is to change our nature 1 s bent ! 
For threats or prayers or courteous argument 
I could not banish verses from my head 
My love of song grew more, the more he said. . . . 
Scarce twelve years old, hid in the valleys deep, 
Or far from men, on wooded hill-sides steep, 
I wandered careless of all else but verse, 
And answering Echo would my songs rehearse. 
Fauns, Satyrs, Pans, Dryad and Oread, 
About me danced, in clasped tunics clad, 
And leaping &gipans with horned head, 
And gentle troops of fairies fancy-bred. 

It is a pretty picture of the poet-boy, for whom all na- 
ture is alive with comradeship ; and reminds us a little 
of the boy Shelley. 

No wonder he pined when he was shut up in a col- 
lege, under a pedantic master. After six months' trial, 
in which he " got no good," as he says, his father let 
him come jiome ; and later took him to court and gave 
him as page to the Dauphin of France. This plan 
worked better, for Ronsard was a born courtier as well 
as passionate nature-lover and poet. The Dauphin died 
soon after, and Ronsard was then attached to the suite 
of James of Scotland, who had come to marry Made- 
leine, the daughter of King Francis ; and with him went 
to Scotland, spending nearly three years at the court 
there, and six months in England on his way back to 
France. Again a page in the royal family, he was sent 
to travel with several diplomatic missions : to Holland, 
to Scotland again, to Piedmont, to Germany, He was a 
favorite of King Francis, and especially of his son Henry, 

who was to be King Henry II., and who loved him 
most for his athletic prowess, and ' ' would never play 
a match but with Ronsard on his side.'* 

Thus the wishes of his father bade fair to be fulfilled 
in fact, success at court was assured when a fever 
caught in Germany brought on partial deafness, and 
unfitted him for the life of a courtier " who should 
be dumb rather than deaf," suggests Ronsard. So he 
gave up his career ; happy, it may be, to have this good 
excuse for not " succeeding in life," and for listening 
no more to the babble of court ambitions, but to the 
" inner voices." 

Nature had taught him. The life of the world had 
taught him. Now, reversing the usual order, books were 
to teach him last. He had acquired a taste for ancient 
learning at the courts of France and of Scotland, where 
the Renaissance was in the air. His trip to Germany 
had been made in the company of Lazare de Baif, that 
noble humanist who, when ambassador to Venice, left 
his post and travelled over the mountains to Rome, to 
attend the courses of a Greek professor there. Ron- 
sard was full of the Renaissance enthusiasm for the clas- 
sics, but he knew as yet only the modern languages. 
So this boy of eighteen, who was already a travelled 
man of the world, set himself to school again, and shut 
himself up in the College Coqueret to begin the work of 
boys of ten or twelve. And there he worked for seven 

It was no ordinary college, this College Coqueret in 
the heart of the old Latin Quarter. And its master was 
no ordinary pedant, but a poet himself in Latin and 
Greek only, of course, but still no scorner of poetry in 

the vulgar tongue. Here gathered the "Brigade," as 
it was called before it knew itself for a new constella- 
tion of stars shining in the new heavens, and took the 
more pretentious name of " the Pleiades. ' ' Beside Ron- 
sard, the most important members of the group were 
D'Aurat, their teacher or rather leader in learning 
older, of course, but still their comrade ; Jean Antoine 
de Baif, the son of Lazare de Baif, who, though eight 
years younger than Ronsard, could at first help him with 
his Greek ; and Joachim du Bellay, whom Ronsard had 
met on a journey, at an inn ; they had talked together 
of the new dawn, had liked each other, and Du Bellay 
had come to live with Ronsard at the college. This 
little group of comrades was the very centre and hotbed 
of the Renaissance in France. They set themselves with 
passionate industry to acquiring the new knowledge, 
D'Aurat leading them on. When it was time to ap- 
proach the difficulties of ^Eschylus, which hardly a man 
in France had yet attacked, he called Ronsard one day 
and read him "at a breath " the " Prometheus Bound," 
"to give him," as the old biography says, " the more 
eager taste for this new knowledge that had as yet not 
passed the seas to come to France. ' J And Ronsard ex- 
claimed, we can hear with what passionate enthusiasm, 
" My master, my master, why have you so long hid- 
den these riches from me ! " Greek, alas ! is hardly 
studied thus in our colleges to-day. " With what desire 
and noble emulation," says Binet, "did they toil to- 
gether ! . . . Ronsard, who had spent his youth in courts, 
being accustomed to watch late, studied until two or 
three o'clock past midnight ; and then going to his bed, 
woke Baif, who rose and took the candle, and did not let 

the place grow cold." That pictures the spirit of the 
Renaissance studying by relays, as it were. We have 
another such picture in Ronsard's sonnet " To His 
Valet," demanding three days of quiet to read the Iliad 
through. As Sainte-Beuve says, most of the Renaissance 
is in this sonnet its devouring passion of study, its de- 
votion to the classics, its home-like familiarity with the 
Olympian Gods, its love of revel, and its love of love ; 
the last being strongest of all, its claim superseding all 
others. This sonnet shows, too, how their devotion to 
study, passionate as it was, did not shut out life and love. 
It was in these years that Ronsard, " following the court 
to Blois " (for these students, all noble gentlemen, some- 
times returned to court) first saw his Cassandra. Nor 
did books shut out nature, or comradeship. Many were 
the excursions to wood and field, and many the open-air 
revels, that these boon companions of the College Co- 
queret had in those years when they were turning by 
night and by day, as Horace recommends, the leaves of 
ancient learning. " Summer's Idlesse," the " Comrade 
Song," "Wine and Death," and "The Praise of 
Roses ' ' give us some conception of their comrade-spirit. 
There are many songs like these, among the verses of the 
Plei'ade ; but not in all their works, I think, is there a 
single tavern-song, such as are so common at most other 
periods from Villon to Verlaine. 

In the mean time there were serious talks, and high 
plans made plans to enrich their own language with 
a literature that should rival in splendor those of old. 
The noblest thing about this group of scholars and wor- 
shippers of past beauty is their belief in their own lan- 
guage and their own new country, in which nothing had 

yet been achieved. A hundred and fifty years before the 
" Querelle des anciens et des modernes," more than 
a hundred years before Racine, and fifty years before 
Shakspere when modern literatures, except in Italy, 
had not yet begun to be a mind in love with the beau- 
tiful necessarily found its ideal in the completed and 
perfected literatures of the past. When almost every 
scholar or man of letters who felt that he had anything 
of real importance to say, or anything worth preserva- 
tion as literature to express, thought he must put it in 
Latin, and when rhyme was considered a mere amuse- 
ment of the vulgar, it took faith for these students to be- 
lieve that literature was possible in their own tongue, and 
courage to attempt to create it. The men of the Pleiade 
had this faith and courage, and that is their glory. They 
fear not to launch their manifesto, proudly proclaiming 
what can and shall be done, even before it is begun ; and 
they call it "The Defending and the Making Illustri- 
ous of the French Language." 

Written by Du Bellay, this "Defense et Illustration" 
expresses the ideas of the whole group, as shaped chiefly 
by Ronsard, who was now their recognized leader. In 
fact, no better summary of its doctrines could be made 
than is found in these few phrases of Ronsard' s in the 
Preface of the " Franciade : " "I counsel thee then to 
learn diligently the Greek and Latin languages, nay also 
the Italian and Spanish ; and then, when thou knowest 
these perfectly, come back like a good soldier to thine 
own flag, and compose in thy mother-tongue, as did 
Homer, Hesiod, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Virgil, Livy, 
Sallust, Lucretius, and a thousand others, who all spoke 
the same language as the ploughmen and servants of their 

day. For it is the crime of lese-majesty, to abandon the 
language of thine own country, which is alive and blos- 
soming, and seek to dig up I know not what dead ashes 
of the ancients. ... I beseech those of you, to whom 
the Muses have granted their favor, that you no more 
Latinize and Grecanize (as some do, more for display 
than duty) but take pity on your poor mother- tongue. 
. . . For it is a far greater thing to write in a language 
that flourished! to-day and is even now received of 
peoples, towns, cities, and states, being alive and native 
to them, and approved by kings, princes, senators, mer- 
chants, and traffickers over-seas, than to compose in a 
language dead and mute, buried beneath the silence of 
so long space of years, which is learned no more save 
at school by the master's whip and the reading of books. 
... It were better, like a good citizen of thine own 
country, to toil at a lexicon of the old words of Arthur, 
Lancelot, and Gawain, or a learned commentary of the 
Romaunt of the Rose. . . . For we speak no more be- 
fore Roman senators. . . . One language dies and an- 
other springeth from it alive, even as it pleases the decree 
of Fate and the command of God, who will not suffer 
mortal things to be eternal as He is and to whom I 
humbly pray, gentle reader, that He both give thee His 
Grace, and the Desire to enrich the language of thine 
own country." 

These are the chief ideas of the " Defense ; " it bids 
the poet first to "bury himself" in the best authors, 
chiefly the Greek, and " devour them, digest them, 
make them bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh." 
Then, choosing national subjects, and using his own 
native speech, let him produce as the ancients did, and 


as the Italians have done, new poetry to the glory of 
his nation. " Up, then, Frenchmen ! march boldly 
upon that haughty Roman city ; and with its spoil adorn 
your own temples and altars. . . . Invade mendacious 
Greece . . . and sack the sacred treasures of the Del- 
phic temple ! Fear no more the mute Apollo, nor his 
false oracles, nor his blunted arrows ! " You can see 
Du Bellay stand, like the Herald-at-Arms in a Renais- 
sance painting, and hear him call in trumpet-tone to all, 
that they rally to this new army for the Defending and 
Making Glorious of France and the French tongue. 

The " Defense " appeared in i 549, and marks the 
beginning of modern French literature. Then, carrying 
out the program, there came quickly, one upon another, 
the works of the school. Ronsard's first four books of 
"Odes," containing all the "Pindaric" odes, appeared 
in 1550 ; his "Amours," and a fifth book of odes in 
1552. Before 1 560 there were six other editions of the 
"Amours, "each enlarged, and three of the Odes, beside 
no less than twenty new poems or collections, including 
the first book of the "Hymns" (extended mythological 
poems like the "Homeric Hymns," and also allegori- 
cal and philosophical poems) in 1555, and the second 
book in 1556. A collected edition of his works was 
published in 1560, and included for the first time the 
first five books of the " Poems," the sixth and seventh 
of which appeared in 1569. In 1562 and 1563 came 
the "Discours " and the "Remonstrance au Peuple de 
France," in 1564 the "Epistles," in 1565 the "Ele- 
gies " and the " Art of Poetry," and in 1 572 the first 
four books of his epic, the " Franciade." 

No other poet made any such broad attempt as is 

represented in this mass of work, to reproduce in a mod- 
ern vulgar tongue all the forms of the classic literatures. 
Ronsard tried to create for France, in French, the Elegy, 
the Eclogue, the "Hymn," the Horatian Ode, the great 
Pindaric Ode in all its sweep and fulness, the light Ana- 
creontic, the Epigram, the Inscription, the Idyl, the 
higher Satire, the Epic. If he omitted one of the great 
forms, the drama and he did not omit it entirely, for 
in his earliest days of writing he made an adaptation of 
the "Ploutos" of Aristophanes which was played at the 
College Coqueret, and was the first French comedy 
it was because some of his disciples, notably Jodelle, were 
working under him in that field, leaving him the higher 
and harder forms (as they were then considered) of the 
Pindaric ode and the epic. Perhaps, too, it was because 
in that early attempt of the "Ploutos" he had recognized 
that the drama, being subject to material conditions from 
which the other forms of poetry are free, could not yet 
exist in France. It was a question not of writing dramas, 
but of creating the theatre ; and it took nearly a century 
more to do this. In all the other forms of poetry, from 
the lightest to the highest, his attempt was notable ; and 
the few in which his achievement was less so were, with 
the exception of the epic, forms in which no modern 
poet has achieved success. 

On this side, then, he is the representative poet of 
the Renaissance. And this is really its most important 
side not the digging up of a dead past, but the birth of 
a new world and a new art from the buried old. The 
true significance of the Renaissance lies in the true mean- 
ing of the word, which is not resurrection but re-birth. 
As Goethe symbolizes it in the child of Faust and Helen, 

the Renaissance had the mediaeval for its father and the 
classical for its mother, but it was not a reproduction or 
a resurrection of either, it was the offspring of both, 
and was a new birth, a new age, a new art the begin- 
ning of the modern, even more than the revival of the 
ancient. Ronsard loved the mediaeval, while so many 
smaller men of the Renaissance despised it ; he knew the 
old romances, the "Roman de la Rose" in both its parts, 
and the lyric poets down to Marot ; but he worshipped 
above all the newly discovered treasures of old Greece 
and Rome, as any true man of the Renaissance must. 
He knew not only the Latin writers but the Greek 
directly, in fact, he learned Greek before he did Latin ; 
and he knew not only the easier Greek authors but the 
more difficult, and attached himself by preference, at 
least during the earlier part of his work, to the three most 
difficult of all, ^Eschylus, Aristophanes, and in chief 
Pindar, rivalling the most enthusiastic humanists in the 
passion of his scholarship. Thus he represents the Re- 
naissance in its double origin. He represents it, too, in 
the freshness and richness of its young life in Europe's 
Spring-time ; in its intensity of life, and its tense real- 
ization of life's bitter briefness ; in its passionate worship 
of Poetry and Beauty ; and in its strange sincere mingling 
of Pagan thought and emotion and conduct with Chris- 
tian belief. But it is by the attempt to create in his 
modern tongue a complete new literature, that should 
have all the glories of the old literatures in all their 
forms and aspects, that he represents it best, and is its 

He was so recognized at once. Coming at the very 
height of the Renaissance movement and in the central 

nation of Europe, he was hailed by all Europe as its 
"Apollo" and its "Prince of Poets." The slight op- 
position which the court poets of the older schools could 
make to his success was quickly swept away before him ; 
and as one work succeeded another, the success was 
transformed into a triumph. He was the favorite and 
friend of six successive kings of France, from Francis I., 
the first Renaissance king, to Henry IV., whose birth and 
marriage he celebrated, and whose accession he looked 
forward to and longed for, as the only hope of peace for 
France. Queens and princesses the most powerful and 
beautiful of their time vied with each other to be his pa- 
tronesses : from Catherine of the Medici to Elizabeth of 
England, who once sent him a great diamond in token 
of her esteem ; from Marguerite of Savoy, the daughter 
of King Francis (not that other Marguerite, King Fran- 
cis' sister, who was Marot's friend) the type of all 
that was sweet and pure and noble in the women of the 
sixteenth century, in short, of perfect goodness, united 
in rare combination with brilliance and beauty, who 
was his champion at court in the early quarrels, and his 
lifelong friend to Mary, Queen of Scots, the bright 
star of his inspiration in her brief reign as Queen of 
France, the subject of many of his most beautiful poems 
and of one of his noblest sonnets, to whom in her captiv- 
ity his volumes were dedicated, who sent him out of her 
poverty rich gifts inscribed "To Ronsard, the Apollo 
of the Muses' fountain," and who said of him on her 
last day of life (at least so our own poet Swinburne 
makes her say, and there is no reason why we should 
disbelieve him) : 


" Ah ! how sweet 

Sang all the world about those stars that sang 
With Ronsard for the strong mid star of all, 
His bay-bound head all glorious with grey hairs, 
Who sang my birth and bridal. 3 ' 

The Kings and Princes of the realm of poetry recognized 
him likewise as their chief, from his followers Du Bel- 
lay, Jodelle, Garnier, and the rest, to his rivals like 
Saint-Gelais ; scholars lauded him in Latin verse, and 
in Greek, and in the lesser languages, from his own 
master D'Aurat to those of distant nations. One, Saint- 
Marthe, called him ' the prodigy of nature and the 
miracle of art." Tasso came and sat at his feet to learn, 
submitting to him the first cantos of the "Jerusalem 
Delivered. ' ' And Montaigne said in one of his Essays, 
that "in the parts of his work in which he excelled, 
he hardly fell short of the perfection of the ancients." 
There was no higher praise that a poet of the Renais- 
sance could receive. 

Yet all this did not spoil him. He was proud indeed. 
That he had always been. It was born in his race. He 
even believed himself the chief of all poets of his time 
and country as in truth he was. He believed, too, 
that he was the first to give to his country something that 
could be called poetry by those who knew also the lit- 
eratures of the past and of Italy ; he boasted that he first 
' ' Pindarized " and " Petrarquized ' ' in France. He held 
himself aloof from the "common crowd," like Horace, 
and boasted the consecration of the Muse's kiss. He 
thought himself a poet, in short and he thought that 
in this world there is no higher thing than to be a true 

poet. But just because he knew how high a thing it is 
to be a true poet, and because he truly knew the great 
poets of the past, he was humble too. He felt some- 
times that among the poets of all time he was one of the 
least, and one most dependent upon others. He even 
called himself but a half-poet. He made his Franciade 
kneel before the ^Eneid and Iliad, and worship them 
as it ought. Then, too, there was another saving grace 
in his proud and contradictory and charming personal- 
ity. The favorite of courts was a recluse ; the singer 
of princes was a lover of nature (how different in this 
from all the courtier-poets of two following centuries !) ; 
and the owner of abbeys and chateaux (for material 
success had come too) was a gardener he must cul- 
tivate his roses, yes, and his cabbages, with his own 
hands; and he must wander alone through his woods 
and on his hill-sides, communing with a book created by 
one "greater than he," or with Nature herself, "cre- 
ated by One greater still." 

Only of one thing he was always sure, in his pride 
or his humility : that he had given to France a litera- 
ture new and greater than she had had before which 
was true ; and that therefore his name and fame could 
never die and no poet's hope of continuous immor- 
tality was ever so' completely disappointed. The story 
of Ronsard's reputation is perhaps the most dramatic 
contrast in all the history of literary fame and oblivion. 
There were many splendid editions of his works, till 
1623, and a poor one in 1629; then, for two hundred 
years, silence ; not an edition ; not even a volume of 

Why ? . . . Because Malherbe had come, and im- 

posed new ideals upon literature. There was to be no 
more freedom, no more nature, no more freshness of 
life, but only perfect regularity of form, and wonderful 
analysis and picturing of human emotions such as they 
might appear in the dress of court and town. Symmetry 
was substituted for harmony in the structure of verse, 
eloquence was substituted for lyrism in its substance. A 
noble eloquence indeed it -was not merely rhetorical, 
as it often seems to the narrow Anglo-Saxon taste, in- 
capable of appreciating French classic literature and 
it produced high and beautiful and truly poetic work. 
But it struck dumb all singing ; and the silence lasted till 
Chenier and Lamartine, Berenger, Musset, and Victor 
Hugo. Malherbe one day took a copy of Ronsard, and 
crossed out the lines which struck him as the worst. An- 
other day he crossed out the few that were left. Balzac 
the Balzac of the seventeenth century, Balzac the 
little, not Balzac the great in one of those carefully 
polished "Letters'* that delighted the Hotel de Ram- 
bouillet, wrote to Chapelain the prosy : " Monsieur de 
Malherbe, and Monsieur de Grasse, and yourself, must 
be very little poets, if Ronsard be a great one "... and 
knew not how true he spoke ! When Boileau, the final 
judge of all such matters, came, the question of Ron- 
sard' s place was long since settled and forgotten. In 
his history of French poetry he condemned Ronsard 
without a hearing, as one who "in French talked no- 
thing but Greek and Latin" (poor Ronsard ! the cham- 
pion and almost the creator of the French poetic lan- 
guage ! ), and dismissed him contemptuously as "that 
proud poet fallen from so high." From Boileau on, 
even the name was almost forgotten. 

Then after two centuries came the rehabilitation 
or the resurrection of Ronsard's fame, in that new 
Renaissance of poetry which made glad the early years 
of the nineteenth century. Sainte-Beuve published in 
1827 his "Survey of French Poetry in the Sixteenth 
Century," and supplemented it in the following year 
with a volume of selections from Ronsard. The old edi- 
tions were exhumed from the dust of libraries. Finally a 
new complete edition was undertaken in 1 8 5 7 by Prosper 
Blanchemain, and finished in 1867. To its last volume 
almost all the younger poets of importance contributed 
in verse their homage to Ronsard, as Sainte-Beuve had 
already contributed his. More recently a complete edi- 
tion of all the poets of the Pleiade has been published, 
under the editorship of Marty-Laveaux. There are also 
many books of selections. In short, the poetry and the 
fame of Ronsard and the Pleiade are now alive again. 

Of course not all of Ronsard's work has been restored 
to real life. " No man," said Voltaire, looking ruefully 
at his fifty volumes, " can take the long journey to pos- 
terity encumbered with all that baggage." No poet, 
except the very greatest, can carry more than one sub- 
stantial tome on that long journey. In Ronsard's work 
there is enough that deserves to survive to make one fair- 
sized volume. It would include, not any of his epic 
that is a failure ; probably none of the eclogues they 
are of the artificial pastoral type, full of contemporary 
interest because they usually present noble or famous 
personages of his own day disguised as shepherds and 
shepherdesses, and possessing touches, but too rare, of 
genuine nature-poetry ; possibly none of the Pindaric 
odes, though it is hard to give this verdict we should 

surely include, for instance, if it were only one tenth its 
length, that noble ode on the Progress of Poetry which 
was so famous in its day, and which deserves, for the 
scholar's reading, to be placed beside or even above 
Gray's ode on the same subject but it is " too heavy 
baggage" for posterity ; and none of the "Discours," 
alas ! great as are their interest and their power, noble 
as are their patriotism and their appeal for peace and unity 
they were creatures of the time and died with it, but 
they set the standard of satire and of national poetry in 
France; but some of the elegies, yes, for they are briefer, 
and in them he is a true and sincere poet of Nature 
and of love ; some few pf the "Hymns," like that 
"On Death," which Chastelard, Brantome tells us, 
carried to the scaffold for breviary, taking Ronsard as 
his only father-confessor ; and a very few of the longer 
" Poems; " but most of all, his lyrics and sonnets and 
lighter odes not the greatest of his work, but the 
most beautiful, and the most portable on that "long 

The sonnets stand halfway between Petrarch and 
Shakspere, and are almost as anticipatory of the later poet 
as they are reminiscent of the earlier. Ronsard is one of 
the few masters of the sonnet. It is probably safe to say 
that he uses it with more variety of effect than any other 
poet, and yet without seeming to force its character. He 
makes it descriptive, epigrammatic, epic, philosophic, 
elegiac, idyllic, dramatic ; he even makes it purely lyr- 
ical. Brunetiere, a critic not given to superlatives nor 
wont to praise, says : " I know of no more beautiful son- 
nets than those of Ronsard." The statement surprises, 
but can it be refuted ? Grander there are, in Milton and 

Wordsworth; nobler, perhaps, from Dante to Petrarch; 
more wonderful in perfection of form and in power of 
condensation or suggestiveness, among Heredia's; but 
more beautiful, no though we may perhaps put with 
the best of Ronsard's some few of Keats'. Keats, once 
in his brief life, made a translation ; and it was from a 
sonnet of Ronsard's. 

Then there are the lyrics lyrics that have almost 
the cutting pathos of the Greek regrets for fleeting youth 
and life, or the light sincerity of Herrick, or even 
snatches of that peculiar grace and haunting naturalness 
of exquisite melody which give to our early Elizabethans 
the sweetest note in all the gamut of song. Ronsard's 
mastery of form, in an almost unformed language, is 
marvellous. He was the first creator of more than a 
hundred different lyric stanzas the most prolific in- 
ventor of rhythms, perhaps, in the history of poetry. He 
ranges from the great ten-line stanza, a favorite of Vic- 
tor Hugo's, to the so-called " Hawthorn-tree " metre, 
which, difficult as it apparently is with its quick-return- 
ing rhymes that dart in and out like squirrels at play and 
respond to each other like answering bird-notes, never 
even in a long poem like the "Spring Love-Song " 
seems for a moment, as Ronsard uses it, to interrupt or 
hamper or turn aside the movement of the thought. 

The three great lyric themes, nature, and love, and 
death, are never long absent from his work, and usually 
they are interwoven with each other in it. He is more 
a poet of nature than any other French poet save La- 
martine. Unlike Lamartine, he seeks in nature not a 
refuge from life, but a living comradeship. Unlike 
Wordsworth, he is not so much the observer and inter- 

preter of nature as its passionate lover. All nature is 
alive to him, even as it was to the Greeks, and as it has 
been to no other modern except, at moments, to Shel- 
ley. His nature-mythology is less of the mind, like that of 
most moderns, or even of the imagination, like Shelley's, 
than of the heart. His love-poetry in particular is per- 
meated with nearness to nature and her spirit. 

Of love Ronsard has sung in all its phases, from the 
simplest human passion to the philosophic love of Dante 
and the Platonists, the shaping power of the universe 
and of man's soul, the 

" Love that moves the sun and the other stars," 

which he celebrates, without quite believing in it, in 
" Love's Quickening " and other sonnets. If his ex- 
pression of love, with all its " burnings " and " freez- 
ings," sometimes seem insincere, it is to be remembered 
that he was speaking the dialect of his time, a dialect 
that to us seems artificial, and to a certain extent, but 
far less than we think, was so. Every age that has a 
character has its dialect and we can hardly assert 
that we have a nobler one than that of the Renaissance. 
Often, too, Ronsard speaks the universal language, which 
is absolute simplicity. But even the touches of artifi- 
ciality grow to seem sincere, and only add to the charm 
of these old-world loves of the golden Renaissance : 
the love of Cassandra, his boyhood's adoration, whom 
he first saw in the glorious beauty of her girlhood as the 
Nymph of the meadow of Blois, 

Walking among the flowers, herself a flower, 

a little lady of the court, but simply clad, and wander- 
ing free with wind-blown golden hair Cassandre Sal- 

viati du Pre she was, and in her veins ran blood that was 
born of Beatrice's and of Laura's nation, and was to be 
transmitted through succeeding generations till it flow- 
ered again in the greatest passion-poet of France, Alfred 
de Musset ; and the love of Marie, the simple country 
girl of Anjou, the passion of his ardent youth ; and last of 
Helen, the Lady Helen of Surgeres, whom the Queen- 
mother bade him celebrate, and whom he grew to love 
with the complete love of the mature man and poet, and 
with something of the bitter intensity of premature old 
age a love that with the advancing years grew into 
friendship. " Dear dead women," they live still in his 

As the years, whose flight he would so fain have 
stayed, passed by, his characteristic theme of " Gather 
Rose-buds " little by little disappeared from his work. 
There came in its stead a quiet acceptance of life, and 
of death as the completion of life, that are classic in their 
simplicity and strength. This theme too, which found 
its expression in many poems like " Life- Philosophy " 
and " Transit Mundus," became characteristic of Ron- 
sard ; and his treatment of it is the more valuable as it 
is the rarer in modern literature. 

Finally, the noblest of all his poems are those on 
Poetry itself. This is the theme for which he cared 
the most. It is intertwined for him with each one of 
the others. Nature is to him always the home of the 
Muses. Love itself is to him the impulse to sing, and 
finds its true consecration in song. The thought of 
death brings with it always the thought of fame in liv- 
ing poetry that is its justification, its consolation, the 
one sure immortality. All else may die kings, em- 

pires, and the unsung fame of noble deeds but, says 
Ronsard in one of his Pindaric odes : 

True poetry forever /arts, 
Obdurate 'gainst the years. 

The men of the Pleiade introduced into France a new 
conception of poetry. " Surely 't would be a thing but 
too easy, and worthy of all contempt, to win eternal 
fame, "says DuBellay in the "Defense," "if mere nat- 
ural facility, granted even to the unlearned, might suffice 
to create a work worthy of immortality. Nay ! he 
that would fly abroad upon the lips of men, must long 
abide shut fast in his chamber ; he that would live in the 
memory of posterity, must, as though dead unto himself, 
labor and oft sweat and tremble ; and even as our court 
poets do drink, eat, and sleep at their ease, so much must 
he endure hunger and thirst and long watchings." Still 
nobler are the words of Ronsard : " Above all things," 
he says in his " Art of Poetry," " thou shalt have the 
Muses in reverence, yea truly in most especial venera- 
tion. Thou shalt never make them serve low ends, but 
shalt hold them dear and holy, as being the daughters of 
Jupiter, that is to say of God, who through them by His 
sacred grace first made known to ignorant peoples the 
excellence of His majesty. . . . And since the Muses 
will dwell in no heart save it be true, holy, and virtu- 
ous, thou must be first good, then open-hearted and 
generous, . . . true in spirit, letting no thing enter 
into thy thoughts that is not super-human and divine. 
Above all let all thine imaginings be high, noble, and 
beautiful." . . . 

Almost all poets have worshipped Poetry and the 

Muses with living faith and fervent self-devotion. There 
have been exceptions, like Lamartine and Byron, even 
among the great ; and they have been the lesser poets for 
it. But hardly one has worshipped and believed with 
the fervor of Ronsard. It is a consecration to live in his 
atmosphere of high devotion to poetry ; it is a joy to 
serve him, and try to spread a little the fame for which 
he cared so much ; and to give him honor in each new 
age is a duty. For this was his faith that though the 
leaf of the rose may fade and fall, the leaf of the laurel 
shall be ever green. 



True Gift Page 3 

Love's Conquering 4 

One only Aim and Thought 5 

Lovers Charming 6 

A Picture and a Plea 7 

Lovers Perfect Power 8 

Even unto Death 9 

Lowe's Wounding 10 

Love's Submission n 

Cassandra's Prophecy i* 

Love"* s Attributes -13 

A Proper Roundelay 14 

Love-Joy, Love-Sorrow 16 

Love's Comparings 17 

The Ways of Love 18 

Madrigal 1 9 

To /^ 5^j 20 

f( Love me, love me not'''' a 2 

The Mourning Do<ve 23 

Love's Quickening 24 

Low's Healing 25 

Love the Teacher and Inspirer 26 

In Absence 27 

Lovers Solicitude 28 

Absence in Spring 29 

The Thought of Death 30 

Remembered Scenes 31 

The Muses'" Comforting 32 

The Poefs Gift 33 


To His Valet 37 

Summer' s Revel . 38 

To the Hawthorn-tree 40 

Nenv April 42 

The Courtier's Return 44 

"Marie, arise!** 45 

Spring Love-Song 46 

Gather Rose-Buds 5 1 

Carpe Diem 52 

Lovers Lesson 54 

To M* %/ryf 55 

*/ Death 59 

Nature's Drinking-Song 61 

Comrade Song 62 

The Praise of Roses 64 


" Sweet-heart, come see if the Rose" 69 

Life's Roses 70 

Lovers Token 71 

Messenger Nightingale 72 

Helen" s Beauty 74 

Kisses and Death 75 

#7^ Flowers 76 

11 If this be Love" 77 

Love's Accounting 78 

Lovers Recording 79 

Love* s Flower 80 

/fcr Immortality 81 

, SCWG, ^tfZ) DEATH 

' Twixt Love and Death 85 

Counsel for Kings 86 

To Mary Stuart, Queen of France 87 

Regret, for Mary Stuarfs Departure 88 

7fo z;* Subject 89 

/or Mary Stuart, in Captivity 92 

In Dear Vendbme 

To the Woodsman of Gastine 

The Power of Song 

The Poet's Titles 

Laurets Worth 


The Happy Life 

Farewell to Lo<ve 

On Death 

Transit Mundus 

Permanet Gloria 

Ronsard"* Tomb 




I0 4 



I 10 




yt s a young maiden, in the morning air 
^^ Of Spring-time, when the year with youth is 


goes seeding through the garden freshly tilled 
T^oses and lilies to adorn her hair, 

But finding not by any roses rare 

^(or other flowers the new-made garden filled, 
Takes simple ivy, and with fingers skilled 

Tresses a wreath to crown and make her fair, 

So I who in my orchard find no roses 

^or any flowers whose worth is worthy you, 
Tinks, lavender, pansies, nor marigold 

Bring you this bit of verse, love-twined and true, 
In hope its simpleness more worth may hold 
Than heaped-up flowers no thoughtful care dis- 


TF '/ please you see how Love's might overcame, 
A How He attacked and how He conquered me, 
How my heart burns and freezes for His glee, 
How He doth make His Honor of my Shame ; 

If* t please you see my youth running to claim 

What brings it nought but pain and contumely, 
Then come and read, and know the agony 

Of which my Goddess and my God make game. 

Then you shall know that Love is reasonless, 
sweet deceit, a dear imprisonment, 
empty hope that feeds us with the wind. 

Then you shall know how great man' s foolishness 
<LSfnd his delusion are, when he *s content 
To choose a child for lord; for guide, the blind. 


"IT THEN Nature formed Cassandra, who should 


The hardest hearts with love's soft passioning*, 
She made her of a thousand beauteous things 

That she had hoarded like a treasure-trove 

For centuries. <^And Love too interwove 

<iSfll He was dearly nesting neath His wings 
Of gentle, to make honey-sweet the stings 

Of her fair eyes, that even the Gods must love. 

nd when from Heaven she was newly come 
<^And first I saw her, my poor heart, struck dumb, 
Was lost in love ; and love, her minister, 

So poured her charm into my very veins 

That now I have no pleasure but my pains, 
e ]S(o j aim or knowledge but the thought of her. 


"JV/T AID of fifteen, in childlike beauty dight, 
Fair head with crinkled ringlets golden- 


T^ose-petalled forehead, cheeks like amethyst, 
Laughter that lifts the soul to Heaven's delight ; 

nd neck like snow, and throat than milk more 

^/fnd heart full-blossomed neath a budding 


Beauty divine in human form expressed, 
nd virtue worthy of that beauty bright 

n eye whose light can change the night to day, 
dx^T gentle hand that smooths away my care, 
Tet holds my life caught in its fingers' snare ; 

Withal a voice that 's ever fain to sing, 

Still stopped by smiles, or sweet sighs languish- 

These are the spells that charmed my wits away. 


QOMETIMES, your bead a little downward bent, 
I see you play at gossip with your thought, 
Sitting apart, alone, as though you sought 

To shun the world and live in banishment. 

Then oft I would approach, in dear intent 

To greet you but my voice, straightway dis- 

With panic fear, behind my lips is caught, 

<^/fnd silence leaves me standing shamed and shent. 

<JA4ine eyes do fear to meet the beams of thine, 

soul doth tremble neath those rays divine, 
(or tongue nor voice can to its function move. 

Only my sighs, only my tear-stained face 

t do their office, speaking in their place, 
bear sufficing witness of my love. 


OUN of my earthly worship, I declare 
^ She equals him in Heaven ! He with his eye 
<*J\4akes glad, makes warm, makes light the 

spacious sky ; 
She gladdens earth with beauty yet more rare. 

and art, earth, water, fire, and air, 
The stars, the Graces, and the Gods on high 
Combine in rivalry to beautify 
<z^My Lady, and to make her wondrous fair. 

Thrice happy were I, had not Fate's disdain 
Walled in with adamantine magnet-stone 
So chaste a heart behind so fair a face ! 

happiest, had I not filled every vein 
With fire and ice because my heart is gone 

love beats, burns, and freezes in its place. 


o think one thought a hundred hundred ways, 
^N^eath two loved eyes to lay your heart quite 


To drink the bitter liquor of despair 
nd eat forever ashes of lost days 

In spirit and flesh to know youth's bloom decays, 
To die of pain, yet swear no pain is there, 
The more you sue, to move the less your fair, 

Tet make her wish, the law your life obeys 

<^Anger that passes, faith that cannot move ; 
Far dearer than yourself your foe to love ; 
To build a thousand vain imaginings, 

To long to plead, yet fear to voice a breath, 
In ruin of all hope to hope all things 
These are the signs of love love even to death. 


s the young stag, when lusty Spring supreme 
O'er Winter s biting cold at last prevails, 
"To crop the honeyed leafage seeks new trails 

leaves his dear retreat at dawn's first gleam ; 

, secure, afar (as he may deem) 
From bay of hounds, or hunters' echoing hails, 
on the mountain-slopes, now in the vales, 
by the waters of a secret stream, 

He wantons freely, at his own sweet will, 
Knowing no fear of net or bow, until, 
Tierced with one dart, he lies dead in his pride 

Even so I wandered, with no thought of woe y 

In my life's April when one quick-drawn bow 
'Plant ed a thousand arrows in my side. 



WHAT though it please you light my heart with 

(Heart that is yours, your subject, your domain), 
With fire of Furies, not with Love's sweet pain, 
"To waste me body and bone till life expire ! 

The ill that others deem too cruel-dire 

Is sweet to me I will not once complain, 
For I love not my life, nor hold it fain 

Save as to love it pleases your desire. 

But yet, if Heaven hath made me, Lady mine, 
To be your victim, may it not suffice 
To lay my loyal service at your shrine ? 

' Twere better you should have my service meet 
Than horror of a human sacrifice 
Stricken and bleeding at your beauty's feet. 


j's frost shall touch thy temples in the morn, 
Sre evening comes thy day shall ended be, 
Cheated of hope thy thoughts shall die with thee, 
< 2^ear ways shall lead thee to thy farthest bourn. 

" Thy songs, that move me not, shall wither, shorn 
Of youth's fresh bloom ; and when for love of me 
Thy death has proved my fated mastery, 

^Posterity shall laugh thy sighs to scorn. 

" Thy fame shall be a by-word in the land, 

Thy work prove built on quickly-shifting sand, 
Thy pictures vainly painted in the skies" 

So prophesied the Nymph I dote upon ; 
When Heaven for witness to her malison 
With lightning from the right struck blind mine 


rules the fields of grain, 
Cjoat-foot Gods the wood; 
Phoebus gives the laurel-vine^ 
'Pallas the olives good^ 
Chloris guards the tender grass in bud ; 

To Cybef s reign 
Belongs the fair lone pine. 

sweet fruits that orchards bear 
Own 'Pomona s power y 

sweet sounds that stir the grove 

the Zephyrs' dower ; 
'Nymphs rule the waves, and Flora every flower ; 
But tears and care 
consecrate to Love. 


OEE thou, my joy, my care, 

^ How many a wondrous thing 

In me thou art perfecting 
Through beauties beyond co?npare : 

So utterly thine' eyes, 

Thy laughter and thy grace, 
Thy brow, thy hair, thy face 

Fashioned in angel's guise, 

^Do burn me, since the day 
When first I knew thereof, 
Longing with passion of love 

To win them in love's sweet way, 

That but for the saving tears 
<a_2[4y life is bedewed withal, 
Long since beyond recall 

'Twere wasted by heat that sears. 

<^Andyet thy beauteous eyes, 
Thy laughter and thy grace, 
Thy brow, thy hair, thy face 

Fashioned in angel's guise, 

So freeze me, since the day 
When first I knew thereof, 
Longing with passion of love 

To win them in love's sweet way, 

That but for the saving heat 
(J^/y soul is enflamed withal, 
Long since beyond recall 

' T were wasted through eyes that greet. 

See then, my joy, my care, 

How many a wondrous thing 
In me thou art perfecting 

Through beauty beyond compare. 


\ THOUSAND lilies i a thousand pinks, 
**" / take in my arms and clasp them round 
Close as the loving vine-branch links 

The bough in its clinging tendrils wound. 

For joy has taken abode with me, 

<iSfnd care no longer turns pale my face, 

I love all life and if these things be, 

' T is the gift, fair dream, of thy heaven-sent 

I could climb the sky thy flight to follow . . . 

But alas ! my joy lives but a breath, 
For the fleeting dream is a vision hollow, 

Like clouds in the wind it vanisheth. 



/CARNATIONS and lilies are hue/ess 
^* When set by the face of my fair, 
nd fine-woven gold is but worthless 
If weighed with the wealth of her hair ; 

Through arches of coral passes 
Her laughter that banisheth care, 

^/fnd flowers spring fresh mongst the grasses 
Wherever her feet may fare. 


T OVE'S infidel 
*rf Whom I adore, 
You know too well 
That I love you more 
By a hundred score 

Than mine eyes or heart ! 
So you 'd die before 

Ton 'd be called " sweet-heart ! 

But if I could seem 

To set no store 
By your esteem, 

Then you'd love me more 
By a hundred score 

Than your eyes or heart, 
<t/fnd almost implore 

To be called" sweet-heart ! " 

" ' Tis the way of love 

That who loves the best 
The least can he move 
His Lady's breast" . . . 
, would I could test 
The proverb's truth 

hate in jest 
Till you loved in sooth I 

^T^AKE my heart, Lady, take my heart 

Take it, for it is yours, my sweet, 
So yours it is, that 't were not meet 
(^Another shared its slightest part. 

So, yours, if yours it pine and die, 

Then yours, all yours, shall be the blame, 
^/fnd there below, your soul in shame 

Shall rue such bitter cruelty. 

IV ere you a savage Scythian's child, 

Yet love, that turns the tigers mild, 

Would melt you at my sighing. 

But you, more cruel-fierce than they, 
Have set your will my heart to slay, 
live but through my dying. 


H whither, honey-bees, 
Oh whither fly you, 
Seeking o'er blosmy leas 
Food to supply you ? 
If you would feast on flowers divine, 
< 7^o f longer range without design 
But hither hie you. 

Come seek Cassandra 1 s lips 

Warm with my kisses 
Tour honey-comb that drips 

Less sweet than this is. 
Here roses blow, and blood-red bowers 
Of Hyacinth's and Aj 'ax* flowers 
Breathe perfumed blisses. 

Sweet marjoram all Winter through, 

<ix4W arum fragrant, 
Wait not Spring's leave to bloom anew 

That March and May grant, 
But match the laurel, ever young, 
While anise blossoms ever among 
The woodbine vagrant. 

But sheathe your stings, in care 

Her lips to cherish. 
She too can sting, beware / . . . 

ere there flourish 

ousand flowers, leave some for mine 
To bear the manna and the wine 
lie that nourish. 


*T*HE better you know of my true love's throe, 
The more you fly me, 
zJMy cruel one ; 

The more I woo you, the more pursue you, 
The more you defy me, 
The less are won. 

Then shall I leave you ? Though y t would not grieve 

<^Alas ! believe me 

Pm not so brave ! 

Yet PR bless the hour of Death' s full power 
If you '// receive me 

To die your slave. 


" \7[/ HAT art *hou saying, doing, pensive dove, 
Upon that withered tree ? " " Ah, friend, 
I moan" 
"Why meanest thou ?" " Because my mate is 

<Dearer than life" " Why left she this fair 

f\ j) 

grove r 

44 ^/f fowler, through the cruel craft he wove, 
Limed her and slew, since when I mourn alone 
<^And chide harsh Death that took my cherished 

Tet would not slay me with her, my true love" 

thou fain to die and join thy mate ? " 
" T>o I not languish in this darksome wood 
Forever by regret of her pursued ? " 

O gentle birdlings, happy is your fate ! 
1S(ature herself in love hath nurtured you 
To die or live unchanging lovers true" 


TT* RE Love from barren Chaos drew the skies, 
^-^ Piercing its womb that hid the light of day, 

Beneath primeval earth's and water's sway 
The shapeless Heavens lay whelmed, in dark disguise. 

Sven so my sluggish soul, too dull to rise, 
Within this body's gross and heavy clay 
Without or form or feature shapeless lay 

Until Love's arrow pierced it from your eyes. 

Love brought me life and power and truth and light, 
<iJMadepure my inmost heart through his con- 

<t^And shaped my being to a perfect whole. 

He warms my veins, he lights my thought, his flight 
Snatches me upward, till in Heaven's height 
I find the ordered pathway of my soul. 


]V/T Y chosen one you to whom I have said, 

u YOU and you only ever please my heart " 
/ look deep in your eyes, and heal the smart 

That long love-yearning hath engendered. 

<J\4y hunger grows the more through being fed. 
But Love, who wasteth not his perfect art 
On the unworthy, with each deeper dart 

Brings not the pain I thought, but joy instead, 

<i^And healeth from my heart all pain away. 

Love is not pain but gain. Though bitter-sweet, 
Less bitter 't is than sweet, less ill than good. 

Twice happy then, yea, thrice, though Love me slay, 
If but below I may Tibullus meet 
<*sfnd wander there beside him in Love's wood. 


T DRAGGED my life along with sullen sighs 
* In heaviness of body and of soul, 

Knowing not yet the Muse's high control 
onor that she brings her votaries, 

Until the hour I loved you. Then your eyes 
Became my guide to lead to virtue's goal, 
Where I might win that knowledge fair and 

Which by true loving makes men nobly wise. 

O love, my all, if aught of good I do, 
If worthily of your dear eyes I write, 
You are the cause, yours is the potency. 

erfect grace comes ever but from you, 
You are my spirit ! If I work aright, 
*T is you that do it, you that work in me. 


"IT TIDE-STRETCHING plains, and mountain-peaks 


Sky, air, and winds and little ripply waves 
Of springs, and winding banks the slow stream 

Tall forests dark, and low-cut coppice green, 

Groves, vine-clad hills, and blosmy vales between, 
Buds, flowers, dew-laden grass, deep mossy 

<^Allyou that beard my songs' low sweet sad 

Waters of Loir, woods of my loved Gas tine, 

Since grief of parting wrung me with such pains 
I could not say " Farewell" to her, alas ! 
Whose I am, near or far, where'er I dwell, 

I beg of you, sky, air, winds, mountains, plains, 
Woods, coppice, river-banks, caves, springs, 

flowers, grass, 

Hills, valleys, groves, say for me, " Fare thee 


XT THERE art thou at this moment, love ? w hat 

What saying, thinking ? <Dost thou think of 

me ? 

Hast thou no care for my hard agony, 
Though care for thee still houndeth me, renewing 

in, and all my heart with love subduing ? 
^Absent, I hear thee speak, and speak to thee. 
Thy form so present in my mind I see, 

can harbor there of other wooing. 

I hold thine eyes, thy beauty, and thy grace 
Sngraven on my heart and every place 
Where e'er I saw thee dance, laugh, speak, or 

I hold thee mine, though I am not mine own ; 
I live and breathe in thee, in thee alone, 
Light of mine eyes, blood of my veins, my love. 


"1T7HAT boots it me to see this verdure fair 

That laughs along the fields to hear the 


Ofbirdlings, and the purling waterfall, 
<^And Spring-time winds that woo the murmurous 

When she that woundeth me, yet hath no care 
Of how my pains increase, comes not at all 
<^And hides the brightness of her eyes withal, 

Twin stars, that fed my heart with heavenly fare. 

I had far rather keep old Winter's cold ; 

For Winter doth less aptly aid Love's charms 
Than Spring-time months, that are Love's Sum- 

Tet make me hate myself, who cannot hold 
In this fair month of April in my arms 
Her who doth hold my life and death in hers. 


OINCE when her faithful eyes, to which I yield 
^ Utter allegiance, no more bring me light, 

'Darkness is day to me, and day is night 
Such power upon me doth her absence wield. 

zJWy bed is grown a fierce-fought battle-field. 

Toothing can please me, all things work me spite. 

One thought that puts all other thoughts to flight 
Clutches my heart and tears its wounds unhealed. 

Beside the Loir, where countless flowers spring, 
Sated with sorrows, longings, bootless cries, 
I should have set an end to all my pain, 

Save that some God doth ever turn mine eyes 
Toward that far country of her sojourning, 
Whose thought brings comfort to my heart again. 


*T*HIS is the wood my holy angel-child 

Made joyous with her song, that day in 

Spring ; 

'These are the flowers her touch was gladdening 
While here she dreamed apart, and dreaming 
smiled ; 

This is the little woodland meadow wild 

Whose green young life seemed neath her feet to 

<^/fs step by step she wandered, pillaging 

Flowers sweet as she was, fresh and undefiled. 

This is the spot where first I saw her smile 
With eyes that rapt my soul away the while ; 
Here I have seen her weep, there heard her sing, 

*Twas here I saw her dance, there sit aloof. . . . 
Of such vague thoughts, with shuttle wandering, 
Love weaves my web of life, both warp and woof. 


TVyTESEEMS I scarce could live, but for the Muse, 
***- <fJMy faithful mate who follows here and 

O'er hi Us, fie Ids, woods ; and charms away my 

With beauteous gifts, and all my woe subdues. 

If I am sad, I know no other ruse 

To conquer grief, but call my comrade rare, 
aJMy Clio ; straight she comes, and greets me fair 
nd graciously, nor ever makes excuse. 

Would the nine Sisters might each season please 
To make my house with their fair gifts replete, 
Which rust can never spoil, nor frost, nor fire ! 

Thyme blossoms not so sweet for honey-bees 

<^As their fair gifts upon my mouth are sweet, 
On which high minds may feed and never tire. 


THAT century to century may tell 
The perfect love Tfonsard once bore to you, 
How he was reason-reft for love of you 
<^And thought it freedom in your chains to dwell ; 

That age on age posterity full well 

know my veins were filled with beauty of 

nd that my heart's one wish was only you, 
I bring for gift to you this immortelle. 

Long will it live in freshness of its prime. 
eXfW/0* shall live, through me, long after 

So can the well-skilled lover conquer Time, 

Who loving you all virtue follow eth. 
Like Laura, you shall live the cynosure 
Of earth, so long as pens and books endure. 





T WANT three days to read the Iliad through ! 

So, Cory don, close fast my chamber door. 

If anything should bother me before 
I've done, I swear you '// have somewhat to rue ! 

not the servant, nor your mate, nor you 
Shall come to make the bed or clean the floor. 
I must have three good quiet days or four. 
Then I '// make merry for a week or two. 

! but if any one should come from HER, 

t him quickly ! Be no loiterer, 
But come and make me brave for his receiving. 

But no one else ! not friends or nearest kin ! 
Though an Olympian God should seek me, leaving 
His Heaven, shut fast the door / Don't let him 



H ! but my mind is weary ! 
Long I have conned the dreary 
Tomes of Aratus. 
Surely '/ is time to play now ! 
Ho ! to the fields away now ! 
Shall we not live to-day now ? 

What though dull fools berate us ! 

What is the use of learning, 
When it but brings new yearning 

Problems to tease us ? 
When, or at eve or morning, 
Soon, but without a warning, 
'Pleadings and pity scorning, 
Orcus the dark shall seize us. 

Corydon, lead the way, and 

Find where good wine 's to pay, and 

Cool me a flagon ! 
Then in vine-trellis ed bowers, 
Bedded on thick-strewn flowers, 
Hours upon idle hours 

Sweetly shall haste or lag on. 

Buy me no meat, but mellow 
<iSfpricots, melons yellow, 

Cream, and strawberries. 
These have the sweetest savor 
Saten in forest cave, or 
Lying by brooks that rave or 
Streamlet that singing tarries. 

in my youth's fresh buoyance 
Laughter shall wait onjoyance, 
Wine shall flow fast now ; 
Lest, when my life grows colder, 
Sickness, by age made bolder, 
Say, as he taps my shoulder : 

" Come, friend you 've drunk your last 



/y, whose burgeoning 

Blossoms spring 
Where these banks wind beauteously, 
'Down along thine arms there clings, 

Waves, and swings, 
Trailing wild-vine drapery. 

f %iyal camps of scurrying ants 

Have their haunts 
Fortified, at thy roots' head. 
In thy hollow-eaten bole's 

Countless holes 
Tiny bees find board and bed. 

Nightingale the chorister 

^Dwelleth here 

Where in flush of youth he made 
Love, and still each year again 

Shall obtain 
Solace in thy leafy shade. 


In thy top be bath his nest 

Built ) and dressed 
Woven of wool, with silks made gay ; 
Whence his young so soon as hatched, 

sJMust be snatched, 
For my hands a gentle prey. 

Live, then, dainty hawthorn fair, 

Live forever, 

Live secure from every foe ! 
<tJ7l4ay nor axe nor lightning harm ; 

Wind, nor storm, 
8'er avail to lay thee low. 


OD guard you, and greet you well, 
t^fesseitgers of Spring : 
^Nightingale and cuckoo, 
Turtle-dove and hoopoe, 
Swallow swift, and all wild birds 
That with a hundred varied words 

<r %ouse and make to ring 
Svery greening glade and fell. 

(jod guard you, and greet you fain, 

'Dainty flowerets, too : 
'Daisies, lilies, roses, 
Poppies and the posies 
Sprung where ancient heroes fell, 
Hyacinth and asphodel 
<zJ7l4int and thyme and rue : 
e welcome back again ! 

(jod guard you, and greet you true, 

Butterflies and bees, 
In your motley dresses 
Wooing the sweet grasses, 
Flitting free on rainbow-wing, 
Coaxing, kissing, cozening 
Flowers of all degrees, 
c j%ea 1 or yellow, white or blue. 

<LX^ thousand thousand times I greet 

Thy return again, 
Sweet and beauteous season ; 
In sooth I love with reason 
Better far thy sunny gleams 
<^And thy gently prattling streams 
Than Winter's wind and rain 
That shut me close in my retreat. 



OOD morn, my heart, good morn, my life's one end, 
(jfood morn, light of mine eyes, my joy, my 

(food morn, I bring you greeting, 
my pretty sweeting, 
airest fair, my love 
<^l4y fresh-blown flower sweet, my sweetest friend, 
zJWy Spring-time sweet, my nestling, my sweet 

turtle-dove, my sparrow, 
rebel sweet, good-morrow ! 

(food-morrow, love and may I sooner die 
Than e'er again my faithlessness renew, love, 
Leaving my lover's pleasure 
For sake of fame and treasure 

To follow court and king. 
*Nay, perish riches, honor, loyalty ! 

I will not leave my love for anything, 
Or part again from you, love, 
<^(4y goddess sweet, my true-love. 


TVT ARIE, arise, my indolent sweet saint ! 

Long since the skylark sang his morning 


Long since the nightingale, love's gentle slave, 
Carolled upon the thorn his love-complaint. 

ise ! come see the tender grass besprent 
With dew-pearls, and your rose with blossoms 


Come see the dainty pinks to which you gave 
Last eve their water with a care so quaint. 

Last eve you swore and pledged your shining eyes 
Sooner than I this morning you would rise, 
But dawn's soft beauty-sleep, with sweet dis- 

Still gently seals those eyes that now I kiss 
^/fnd now again and now this breast, and 

<^A hundred times, to teach you early rising * 



\\ THEN the beauteous Spring I see-) 

Glad and free, 

zJMaking young the sea and earth, 
Then the light of day above 

<^And our love 
Seem but newly brought to birth. 

When the sky of deeper blue 

Lights anew 

Lands more beautiful and green, 
Love, with witching looks for darts, 

Wars on hearts, 
Winning them for his demesne. 

Scattering his arrows dire 

Tipped with fire, 
He doth bring beneath his sway 
tJMen and birds and beasts for slaves 

<*x^W the waves 
To his power obeisance pay. . . . 


, for Love's triumphing, 

In the Spring 

Thrills my heart at every Ireath 
By new beauties everywhere 

Which her care 
From my Lady borroweth : 

When I see the woodland bowers 

Bright with flowers, 
<^4nd the banks with flowers bedight, 
Then methinks I see the grace 

Of her face 
Fair with blended red and white ; 

When I see elm-branches bound 

Close around 

Where the loving ivies wind, 
Then I feel encompassing 

zsfrms that cling 
Fast about my neck entwined ; 

When I hear thee in the vale, 


Uttering thy sweetest voice, 
Then methinks her voice I hear, 

Low and clear, 
<^7l4aking all my soul rejoice ; 

When the soft wind comes anon 

<*Jfyfur muring on 

Through the many-branched grove, 
Then I hear the murmured word 

That I heard 
Once alone beside my love ; 

When I see a new-blown flower's 

Sarliest hours 

By the morning sun caressed, 
Then its beauty I compare 

To the rare 
Budding beauty of her breast ; 

When the sun in Orient skies 

9 (fins to rise, 

Flaunting free his yellow hair, 
Then methinks my sweet I see 

Fronting me, 
Binding up her tresses fair ; 

When I see the meadows studded 

With new-budded 
Flowers that overflow the earth, 
Then my senses half believe 

They receive 

Honeyed fragrance from her breath. 

So it proveth, bowsoe'er 

I compare 

Spring-time with my chosen one. 
Spring gives life to every flower 

Life and power 
Come to me from her alone. 

Would '/ were mine, where streamlets flow 

Whispering low, 
To unbind that wealth of hair, 
Then to wind as many a curl 

<^As there purl 
Tfunning rippling wavelets there. 

Would 't were mine to be the god 

Of this wood, 

So to seize and hold my love, 
Kissing her as oft again 

cj^/^V there ben 
(j-reening leaves in all the grove. . . . 

, my sweet, my martyrdom, 
Hither come, 

See the flowers how they fare. 
They to pity me are fain 

Of my pain 

Thou alone hast not a care. 

See the gentle mating dove 

^And his love, 

How they win the joy we seek, 
How they love as Nature bade 

How they kiss with wings and beak, 

While we, following honor's shade, 

Have betrayed 

yoy, through fear and coward shame. 
<^Ah ! the birds are happier far 

Than we are, 
Loving without let or blame. 

Time is hasting to destroy 

<^All our joy, . 

Snatching it with harpy claws. 
Sweetheart, let us live and love 

Like the dove, 
Heeding not men's rigorous laws. 

Kiss me, ere the moment slips^ 

On my lips, 

O my love, and yet again 
Kiss me, ere our youth's brief day 

Fleet away, 

<*J7l4aking all our passion vain. 


"ITTHILE this green month is fleeting, 
Oh ! come, my pretty sweeting, 

Waste not in vain thy ring-time ! 
Sly age, ere we 've an inkling 
Thereof, our hair is sprinkling 

He passeth even as Spring-time. 

Then, while our life is crying 
For love, and Time is flying, 

Come, love, come reap desire. 
'Pass love from vein to vein ! 
Swift comes old Death and then 

^411 joys expire. 


HERE is a time for all things , sweet ! 
When we at church are kneeling 
We 'II worship truly. 
But when in secret lovers meet, 
Their wanton blisses stealing, 
We 'II match them duly. 

Why, then, oh why deny my will 
To kiss thy hairs soft beauty, 

Thy lips' dear roses ?' 
When I would touch thy breast, why still 
^Dost feign the nun's cold duty 
In cloister-closes ? 

For whom dost save thine eyes in sooth, 
Thy brow, thy bosom's sweetness, 

Thy lips twin-mated? 
T)ost think to kiss King Pluto's mouth 
When Charon's hateful fleetness 
Oars thee ill-fated? 

Thine aspect shall be gaunt and dread, 
Thy lips, when Death has ta'en thee, 

<iSfll sicklied over. 
Were I to meet thee mongst the dead 
I 'd pass by, and disdain thee, 
Thee, once my lover ! 

Thy skull shall know nor hair nor skin, 
Thy jowl the worms shall fatten, 

Srstwhile so winning ; 
Thou 'It have no other teeth within 
Thy jaws, but such as batten 
In death's-heads grinning. . . . 

Sweet, while we live, oh ! seize to-day, 
^/fnd every respite using, 

Spare not thy kisses ! 
Soon, soon, Death comes, and then for aye 
Thou 'It rue thy cold refusing 
<^And mourn lost blisses. 



HE moon each month is blenched 

Brighter to rise ; 
But once life's light is quenched^ 

Then shall our eyes 
Long sleep be taking, 
With no awaking. 

Then kiss me^ while we live 

<tSfbove the ground ! 
<^A thousand kisses give 
Love knows no bound. 
To His divinity 
Belongs infinity. 



OKYLARK, how I envy you 

^ Tour gentle pleasures ever new, 

Warbling at the break of day 

Of love, sweet love, sweet love alway, 

<*^/fnd shaking free your beating wings 

Of dew that to each feather clings ! 

re Apollo risen hath 

Tou lift your body from its bath, 

Parting up with little leaps 

To dry it where the cloud-flock sleeps, 

Fluttering free each tiny wing 

<^And u tirra-lirra " carolling 

Sweet, so sweet, that every swain, 

Knowing Spring has come again, 

Thinketh on his love anew 

^/fnd longs to be a bird like you. 

Then, when you have scaled the sky, 
Tou drop as swift, as suddenly, 
^fs the spool a maid lets fall 
When, caught at eve in slumber's thrall, 
distaff for got, she nods so much 
Her cheek and bosom almost touch ; 

Or as by day when she doth spin 

(!>"^W he that seeks her love to win 

Cometh near her unbeknown 

(^Abashed she casts her glances down, 

<^4nd quick the slender thin-wound spool 

From her hand afar doth roll. . . . 

So you drop, my lark, my lover, 

dainty minion, darling rover, 

Lark I love more tenderly 

Than all the other birds that fly, 

<*JMore than even the nightingale 

Whose notes through copse and grove prevail. 

Innocent of every harm, 

You never rob the toilsome farm 

Like those birds that steal the wheat 

<^4nd spoil the harvest thieves that eat 

growing grain in stalk and leaf 

Or shell it from the standing sheaf. 

(preening furrows are your haunts, 

Where the little worms and ants, 

Or the flies and grubs, you seek, 

To fill your children's straining beak, 

While they wait, with wings ungrown, 

Clothed in clinging golden down. 

Wrongly have the poets told 

That you, the larks, in days of old 

^ared your father to betray 

^And cut his royal locks away 

Wherein his fated power lay. 

Out ! alas ! not you alone 

The wrongs of poets' tongues have known. 

Hear the nightingale complain 

<^Andfrom her bower their tales arraign. 

Swallows sing the self-same plea 

The while they chirp " cossi, cossi." 

( ]S(one the less, then, I entreat, 

Tour " tirra-lirra " still repeat 

sJWake them burst with very spite, 

These poets, for the lies they write I 

< ]S{one the less, for what they say, 
Live ye joyously a /way / 
Seek at each return of Spring 
Tour long-accustomed pleasuring, 
l^eyer may the pilfering raid 
Of quaintly dainty shepherd-maid 
Toward your furrows turn her quest 
To spy your new-born cheeping nest 
<*Sfnd steal it in her gown away 
The while you sing in Heaven your lay. 


Live, then, birdlings, live fore' Vr, 
^And lift aloft through highest air 
Warbled song and soaring wing 
To herald each return of Spring. 

N tender grass, neath a laurel-tree, 
Who listetb to lie and drink with me ? 
Boy- Cupid shall come, and girding up 
His light-blown robe with a hempen string 
Or flax to his naked loins, shall bring 
The wine, and bear my cup. 

The life of man is a fleeting breath, 
From day to day it evanisheth 

Like breaking waves that roll to the shore, 
death's hour comes on . . . and our tomb shall keep 
'frothing of us, save a nameless heap 
Of little bones no more. 

I care not for custom, that bids perfume 
With spices and balm my new-made tomb 

(x-^W pour sweet odors, and incense shed. 
But while I 'm living, it is my will 
To bathe in fragrance, and drink my fill, 
crown with flowers my head. 


/ '// name myself for my heir, I vow, 

spend the heritage here and now ! 
Who lives for others seeks foolish cares. 

the pelican, pouring free 
His blood for his children. <*JMad is he 
Who saves his goods for his heirs ! 

^T^HE earth drinks rain through every pore, 

Through every root the tree, 
The sea drinks rivers evermore, 
The sun drinks up the sea, 

The moon drinks up the sun his light, 

<^All things in nature drink. 
Since drinking is the common right 

Come let us drink, drink, drink ! 



\\T E hold not in our power 

The coming morrows' time ; 
Life has no certain dower. 
Kings' favors we desire, 
<iSfnd waiting them, expire 
Sre hope has passed its prime. 

The man whom Death has taen 
Bats not, and drinks no more, 
Though barns be full of grain 
<^And vaults have wine in store 
On Earth, that he has bought. 
They reach not even his thought. 

Then what shall care bestead ? 
(jfo, Cory don, prep are 
^/f couch with roses spread ; 
To banish cark and care 
I y ll lie outstretched for hours 

s and heaped-up flowers. 

<^And bring D' Aurat to me 
<^/Ind all that company 
The Muses love so well, 
Forgetting not Jodelle. 
From eve to morn we 'II feast 
With fivescore cups at least ! 

'Pour wine, and pour again ! 

In this great goblet golden 

I 'II drink to Estienne 

Who saved from Lethe's treasures 

The sweet, sweet Teian measures 

Of that lost singer olden, 

<*sfnacreon the wine-king, 

To whom the drinker's pleasure 

Is due, and Bacchus' treasure 

His flasks, and Love, and Venus, 

<L/fnd tipsy old Silenus 

In vine-clad bowers drinking ! 


we roses into wine ! 

In this good wine these roses 
Tour, and quaff the drink divine 

Till sorrow's hold uncloses 
From our hearts, both mine and thine. 

Kings and clowns from diverse ways 
^/ft Charon's boat are meeting* 

Ifone escape their fated days. . . . 
<*Sfh ! friend, while time is fleeting 

Let us sing the rose's praise. 

looses are the chief of all 

The flowers in garden closes, 

Flowers of joy, and therewithal 
Of love ana 1 so the roses 

" Venus' violets " I call. 

'fyses are Love's own bouquet 
^Andjoyance of the Graces. 

'Dawn doth give them pearls alway 
Whose white their red enlaces 

^Dipped in dew at break of day. 
6 4 

Ttyes are the Gods' delight, 
<tSfnd maidens' best adorning, 

^\4aidens deck their bosoms white 
With crimson roses, scorning 

Q old and gems, though ne'er so bright. 

What is fair without the rose ? 

Beauty is born of roses. 
Venus' skin is all one rose, 

^Aurora's touch is roses, 
suns have brows of rose. 

Be my brows with roses crowned 
In place of laurel's glory. 

Call the twice-born God renowned, 
Our father hale and hoary ; 

Spread him roses all around; 

Bacchus loves the beauty sweet 
Of crimson-petalled roses. 

c %oses Jill his vine-retreat 
Where care-free he reposes 

^Drinking mid the Summer's heat. 


THE 1(gSE" 

OWEET-HEART, come see if the rose 

Which at morning began to unclose 
Its damask gown to the sun 
Has not lost, now the day is done, 
The folds of its damasked gown 
<^And its colors so like your own. 

see, in bow brief a space, 
Sweet-heart, it strewed the place, 
tafias, with its beauties' fall ! . . . 
O step-dame Nature ! if all 
Of life you will grant such a flower 
Is from morning to evening hour ! 

Then hear me and heed, sweet-heart 
Swiftly the years depart ! 
Harvest, oh ! harvest your hour 
While life is a-bloom with youth ! 
For age with bitter ruth 
Will fade your beauty's flower. 


are very old, by the hearth's glare, 
candle-time, spinning and winding 

You 'II sing my lines, and say, astonished : 
<r Ronsard made these for me, when I was fair. 

Then not a servant even, with toil and care 

^Almost out-worn, hearing what you have said, 
Shall fail to start awake and lift her head 

<^And bless your name with deathless praise for e'er. 

nes shall lie in earth, and my poor ghost 
Take its long rest where Love's dark myrtles 

You, crouching by the fire, old, shrunken, grey, 

Shall rue your proud disdain and my love lost. . . . 
, hear me, love ! Wait not to-morrow 
nd pluck life's roses, oh ! to-day, to-day. 


, my conqueror , this ivy wound 
In wreaths I give the ivy that a /way 
Holds trees and walls close twined in spray on 

Tendril on tendril, wrapt, embraced, and bound. 

It is your right to be with ivy crowned ! 

Would it were mine to wind me, night and day, 
T^ound you, my column, in the ivy's way, 

lie along your breast in love's deep swound. . . 

, will the time not come, will it not be 
When, just as dawn awakes the world to life, 
< R(eath branches of a bower thick shade encloses, 

Under soft skies, at prattling birds' first glee, 
I shall at last be conqueror in love's strife, 
clasp at will your ivory and roses ? 


I^IGHTINGALE, nightingale, 

^uest of my bower, 
'Pouring o'er hill and dale 

< I^otes of such power 
< ]S(one can forget thy tale 

Of sorrow's dower, 

Fly to my cruel one, 

Tell her in truth 
That for no orison 

Time will have ruth 
Quicker than dreams are done 

'Passes our youth. 

Tell her the fairest rose 

Winter's endeavor 
Withered, shall May unclose 

Fairer than ever. 
Life's Spring-time, once it goes, 

Comes again never. 

Once age has come, the grace 
Crowning her brow 

Fades like a garden-space 
Cut by the plough, 

Furrowing deep her face 
Lily-white now. 

Once age has stealthily 
Wrought out his crime, 

Vainly she '// weep for the 
Flight of swift time, 

Wishing she 'd shared with me 
Sweets of her prime. 

Nightingale, bid her come 
Where love reposes, 

Lying on sweet winsome 
Beds of rich posies, 

Changing her colors from 
Lilies to roses. 



HAT Lady, chief est slave of Love her lord, 
By Jove the Swan begot, and sister born 
To the great Twins, whose beauty's rising morn 
T^oused up all Europe gainst the Asian horde, 

One day unto her mirror spoke this word, 
Seeing her face of all its graces shorn : 
" With how great madness were my husbands 

To seek such rotting flesh with royal sword ! 

! Gods, too jealous of our little day ! 
Fair women's youth flies once for all away, 
Yet serpents cast their age each Spring, for 

years." . . . 

So Helen spoke, and wept lost beauty's dower. 

The story is for you. Tluck your youth' s flower ! 
When April 's gone, October bringeth tears. 



Ti>f r Y mistress, kiss me, clasp me, bold me close f 
Thy breath on my breath, warm me till I 

^/f thousand kisses take, a thousand give ! 
Love loves the infinite, nor limit knows. 

Kiss me, and kiss me yet again ! Life goes, 
Stealing, fair mouth, thy beauty fugitive, 
<iSfnd leaving lips no longer sensitive, 

Lips wan and hueless, nothing like to those. 

while we live, kiss me with lips of rose, 
sSfnd kissing, stammer words that half unclose 
These clasped close-clinging lips, words broken 
and few. 

e in my arms, Death shall our shades unite. 

Or wake to life, and I will live anew. 

Life's day so brief, alas ! excels the night. 



T SEND to you a nosegay that but now 

I chose among the full-blown blossoms gay. 
Had one not gathered them at eve to-day 

The morrow morn had found them fallen low. 

Let this ensample speak to you, and show 

That even your beauties, in their flower-array, 
Sre little time must fade and fall away 

<^/fnd like the flowers in one swift moment go. 

Time passes swift, my love, ah ! swift it flies ! 

Yet no Time passes not, but we we pass, 
<^4nd soon shall lie outstretched beneath a stone. 

<^/fndfor this love we talk of Death replies 
Forever not one word of it, alas ! . . . 
Then love me, while thou 'rtfair, ere youth is 
gone ! 

7 6 


TF this be love, my Lady day and night 

To think) muse, dream, of naught but how to 


To do naught else but seek to serve your ease, 
<^And worship you, who work me most despite ; 

If this be love in long and lonely flight 

To follow ever joy that ever flees 

<^Andfind a desert, watered with pain's lees, 
<L/^ place of silence and of lost delight ; 

If this be love to live far more in you 
Than in myself '; and when I seek to woo, 

^A "bashed, to find no word to urge my suit, 
Torn with unequal strife at every breath, 

In feeling strong, in speech irresolute : 

If these be love, then madly love I you 

Love you and know the fated end is death, 
heart speaks plainly, though my tongue is 



OUNBURNT Summer less devours, 
Less chill is Winter's bitterness, 
The bowers in Spring have fewer flowers, 
^/futumn's grapes are less, 

There are less fish in all the sea, 

La Beauce hath fewer harvestings, 
You '// see less sands in Brittany, 
in Auvergne less springs, 

The night less flaming torches wears, 

The woods, less leaves to watch them through, 

Than bears my heart of pains and cares, 
Love, for love of you. 


/~IOME, boy, and where the grass is thickest pied, 
^^ With robber hand cut the green season's bloom, 

Then flinging open armfuls strew the room 
With flowers that April bears in her young pride. 

Then set my lyre, song's handmaid, by my side 
For if I may, I'll charm away the gloom 
That like a poison worketh to consume 
ife, through power of beauty undefied. 

Then bring me ink and countless papers white 
White paper shall bear witness to my woe, 
Whereon the record of this love I 'II write. 

White paper, that endures when diamond stone 
Is worn away, shall bid the ages know 
How for love's sake I suffer and make moan. 



*T*AKE thou this rose, sweet even as thou art, 
** Thou rose of roses rarest, loveliest, 
Thou flower of freshest flowers, whose fragrance 

Snwraps me, ravished from myself apart. 

Take thou this rose, and with it take my heart, 
zJMy heart that hath no wings, unto thy breast, 
So constant that its faith stands manifest, 

Though wounded sore with many a cruel dart. 

The rose and I are diverse in one thing : 
Sach mornings rose at eve lies perishing, 
While countless mornings see my love new-born 

But never night shall see its life decay. . . . 
^/fh ! would that love, new-blossomed in the 

Sven as a flower had lasted but a day. 



Lady, had I but the Heaven-sent grace 
Of rhythmic speech to match my great intent, 
This verse of mine should grow more eloquent 
Than his who charmed the ancient rocks of Thrace. 

Higher than Horace's or Pindar's place 
I *d hang a wreath for thee, so excellent, 
^/f book so wrought of noble sentiment, 

That T)u Eellay would straightway yield the race ! 

Laura's song-ennobled name, 
With glory by the listening ages crowned, 
Lives in the Tuscan verse less world-renowned 

Than thine, whose praise, for pledge of Francis 


Should conquer empires, peoples, kings, and Time, 
out soar Death itself on wings of rhyme. 

LIFS, 0<2\G, ^4ND <DEATH 


T SANG these songs, by Helen's love made blind, 
That fated month that oped my Prince's grave ! 
^reat as his sceptre was, it could not save 

CHARLES from the debt we owe to human kind. 

'Death stood on one side. Lord of heart and mind, 
Love ruled me from the other side, and drave 
Such torment through my veins, no thought I gave 

Sven to my King in my own pain confined. 

in my heart two different griefs make one : 
Lady's coldness, and the shortened years 
Of him I worshipped for his noble fame. 

She living and he dead bid tears to run 
He asketh weeping, she must have my tears. 
For Love and Death are one thing and the same. 


TJ E, like a noble prince, in love with fame ! 
-*-* Live glorious days, and win a deathless name 
^Achieving deeds that h'istory shall tell, 
Like those of Charles the Great, and Charles 

Let not the nobles wrong the Third Estate ; 
Let not the populace displease the great. 

revenues with canny sense ; 
The Prince who cannot govern his expense, 
(x-^W rule his wife, his children, his estate, 
Will surely fail to govern well the state. . . . 
But be more miserly of friends than gold ; 
Kings without friends were wretched from of old. 

appear n pompous vesturng ; 
Virtue alone can fitly clothe a king. 
Let all thy body shine with virtues bright, 

thy raiment with rich pearls bedight. . 

, Sire, since no man born may punish kings 
For any wrong, with strict examinings 
Chastise thyself, in fear lest finally 
(pod's justice, higher than thou, should punish 
thee. . . . 




NGLAND and Scotland and the land of France, 
Those girt with ocean, this with mountains 


When you were born, as ancient gossips do, 
Stood round your cradle royal disputants. 

France, Scotland, England, each made haste to ad- 


Her claim, demanding you as her just due, 
The while you favored France, methinks,for you 

Were fain to choose her towns for crown to enhance 

Your fair head's beauty. To Jove's throne serene 
They take appeal and he to each allots 
This just decree, granting each one's demand : 

That you should be three months Fair England's 


Then for three following months be Sjueen of 

then be fueen six months of the French 



TF spangled fields should lose their every flower, 
Iheir leaves ; 

If heaven should lose the stars that are its dower, 

The sea its waves, 
1^4 'palace proud, the glory of its king, 

Its pearl, a ring, 
These would be like to France, that now has lost 

Tour beauty bright, 
Her flower, her precious pearl, her glory and boast, 

Her star, her light. 

Scotland, I would that thou like Delosfree 

Couldst wander far 
< ]^or e'er behold thy bright ^ueenfrom the sea 

^ise like a star ; 
Till wearied with pursuit, she seek again 

Her own Touraine. 
Then should my lips overflow with songs, my tongue 

Thrill with her praise, 
Till like the swan my sweetest notes were sung 

To end my days. 


" IT THEN that your sail bent to the ocean-swell 

^fndfrom our weeping eyes bore you away, 
The self-same sail bore far from France that 

The Muses, who were wont with us to dwell 

While happy Fortune stayed you in our land 

the French sceptre lay within your 
hand. . 

The Muses weeping left our countryside. 

What should the nine fair comrades sing of more, 
Since you, their beauteous subject and their guide, 
On unreturning ways have left our shore, 
Since you, that gave them power to speak and 

sing, ^ ^ 

Cut short their words and left them sorrowing. 

Tour lips, where Nature set a garden-growth 

Of pinks that sweet Persuasion water eth 
With nectar and with honey ; and your mouth 

all of rubies, pearls, and gentle breath 

Tour starry eyes, two fires that Love controls, 
That make the darkest night like day to shine, 

<^And pierce men's hearts with flame, and teach 

men's souls 
To know the virtue of. their light divine 

The alabaster of your brow, the gold 

Of curls whose slightest ringlet might have bound 
d>/^ Scythian's heart, and made a warrior bold 

Let fall his sword in battle to the ground 

The white of ivory that rounds your breast, 
Tour hand, so long and slender, and so pure ; 

Tour perfect body, Nature' s finished best 

<Sfnd Heaven' s ideal in earth-drawn portrai- 

ese, alas ! are gone. . . . What wonder then 
(Since all the grace that lavish Heaven could 

T(eyealing beauty once for all to men, 

Have left fair France} if France can sing no 

more ? 

How should sweet songs to lips of poets come, 
When for your loss the Muses' selves are 
dumb ? 

9 o 

is beautiful is transient too . . . 
Lilies and roses live brief days and few. 
ven so your beauty, brilliant as the sun, 

In one brief day for France has risen and set ; 
Bright as the lightning, 't was as quickly gone, 
nd left us only longing and regret. 



>T< HOUGH by wide seas and Time we sundered 

Sweet )ueen, the light-flash of that beauteous 

Your eyes, whose like the whole world holdeth 

from my heart can wander long or far. 

Thou other queen, that under prison bar 
Holdest so rare a queen, bid wrath begone 
<tSfnd change thy rede. From dawn to evening 

The sun sees not so base an action done ! 

'Peoples, you shame your birth, sluggards at arms ! 
Your forbears Roland, Renault, Lancelot, 
Fought with glad hearts for noble ladies 1 charms, 

Warded, and saved them. While you, FRENCH- 

MEN, dare 

1S(ot don your armor ! nay, have touched it not 
To free from slavery a queen so fair ! 

(To Quillaume des <^/futels, French 'Poet) 

Y des Autels, whose true, 

Ture utterance 
Transforms to gold anew 
The speech of France, 

List while I celebrate 

<^\4y dear Vendome. 
O land thrice fortunate, 

The Muses' home, 

For thee ungrudging Heaven 

Has emptied free 
The horn of plenty, and given 

<tx^7/ grace to thee. 

Two ridges, circling, long, 

With summits bold 
Shut out the South-winds strong, 

The North-winds cold ; 

On one, my loved Gastine, 

The sacred wood, 
Lifts high its head of green, 

Holy, and proud; 

ng the other's side 
Spring countless vines, 
That almost match the pride 
Of Anjou wines ; 

In winding meadow-ways 
The Loir soft-flowing 

With its own wavelets plays, 
c N(or hastes its going. 

Though none from distant lands, 

By hope cajoled, 
Come seeking mongst thy sands 

The toilsome gold, 

Though gems of Orient price 

Hide not in thee 
To tempt man's avarice 
cross the sea, 

ic, nor boastful Ind 
Can thee outvie, 
Honored, by Gods more kind, 
With gifts more high. 

For 'Justice, fled from earth 

<x4W dispossessed, 
Left thee, to mark thy worth, 

Her footprints blest ; 

<^And while no more we see 

The golden age, 
Virtue has chosen thee 

For hermitage. 

The nymphs, that tune their voice 

To notes of streams 
Have made of thee their choice 

To list high themes, 

Singing with happy grace 

<^/fnd sweet accords 
Praise to the Heaven-born race, 

Our Bourbon lords. 

The Muses, whom I woo, 
Worship, and fear, 

The golden Graces too, 
Inhabit here. 

Though ever back and forth 
<zJMy steps may roam, 

This little plot of earth 
<Sflone is home. 

Hence may my fated end, 

When time is full, 
s_7l4e into exile send 


(x^W here you V/ come to weep 

From lands afar, 
While dust and darkness keep 

Tour friend, 



STAY, woodsman, stay thy hand awhile, and 

It is not trees that thou art laying low ! 
Dost thou not see the dripping life-blood flow 
From Nymphs that lived beneath the rigid bark ? 
Unholy murderer of our Goddesses, 
If for some petty theft a varlet hangs, 
What deaths hast thou deserved, what bitter 

What brandings, burnings, tortures, dire distress ! 

lofty wood, grove-dwelling birds' retreat, 

^JS^ojnore shall stag and doe, with light-foot tread, 
Feed in thy shadow, for thy leafy head 

< 7V0 more shall break the sun's midsummer heat. 

The loving shepherd on his four-holed flute 
Tiping the praises of his fair Janette, 
His mastiff near, his crook beside him set, 

< 7^more shall sing of love, but all be mute. 

Silence shall fall where Echo spoke of yore, 

<iSfnd where soft-waving lay uncertain shade, 
Coulter and plough shall pass with cutting blade 
nd frighted Pans and Satyrs come no more. 


Farewell, tbou ancient forest, Zephyr's toy ! 
Where first I taught my seven-tongued lyre to 

Where frst I heard Apollo's arrows ring 
<iSf gainst my heart, and' strike it through with 

joy ; 

Where frst I worshipped fair Calliope 
<^/fnd loved her noble company of nine 
Who showered their roses on this brow of mine ; 
Where with her milk Euterpe nurtured me. 

Farewell, ye ancient oaks, ye sacred heads, 

With images and flower-gifts worshipped erst, 
But now the scorn of passers-by athirst, 

Who, parched with heat the gleaming ether sheds, 

<^/Ind robbed of your cool verdure at their need, 
<t_sfccuse your murderers, and speak them 

scathe. . . . 
Farewell, ye oaks, the valiant patriot's wreath, 

Te trees of Jove himself, Dodona's seed. 

"T was you, great oaks, that gave their earliest 


To men, ungrateful and degenerate race, 
Forgetful of your favors, recreant, base, 
(^/fnd quick to shed their foster-fathers' blood ! 

Wretched is he who sets his trust upon 

The world ! how truly speaks philosophy. 
Saying that each thing in the end must die, 

<JMust change its form and take another on. 

Fair Tempos vale shall be in hills uptossed, 
<^And Athos* peak become a level plain ; 
Old Neptune' s fields shall some day wave with 
er abides forever, form is lost. 


rue VOWST^OF soNg 

uplifted high, 
Or living bronze, 
Or stone carved skilfully, 
Fame's clarions 

< ]\feyer to men can give 
Their deathless meed 

Like song that makes to live 
Sack noble deed* 

If poets had not come 
To grace their name, 

Virtue herself were dumb 
<*^4nd tongue/ess Fame, 

<iSfnd dead the memory 

Of Hector's worth. 
But winged with song theyjly 

Throughout the earth. 


T T OLY Euterpe teaches me to hate 

The common crowd; 

Her sacred laurel-branch marks my estate, 
<^And makes me proud. 

She deigns to tune her fluting pipes for me 

Within her wood, 
<sSfnd brings them me whene'er my heart may be 

In singing mood. 

From her own spring she chrismed me, with her lip 

She named my name, 
<x4W made me share old Rome's high mastership 

<^And Athens' fame. 



(^Dialogue of ^onsard and 


TV /T Y too great love of 'you hath been my bale, 

O Muses * w ho defy Time' s power, you 


For now mine eyes are dull, my face is pale, 

head at thirty years is bald and grey. 

The <JMuses 
The wandering seaman weareth bronzed looks 

For beauty ; smooth, soft skin doth not avail 
To make the soldier fair ; who o'er our booh 

'Doth bend is ugly save his face be pale. 

But what reward for so long following 

With laurelled brow your dances night and day 

Can e'er make good the loss of my life's Spring 
When youth like scattered dust is blown away ? 

Living you shall enjoy a glorious fame, 

ter death your memory shall bloom ; 
upon age shall keep alive your name, 
'Thought but your flesh shall perish in the tomb. 

O gracious recompense ! What vantage hath 
Homer, who lies, mere nothing, undergound, 

Without or feet or head or limbs or breath, 

Though on the earth his name be still renowned ! 

The *JMuses 

You are deceived. What though the body rot 
Within the tomb ? // cannot know or care. 

But on the soul of man such change comes not. 
Immortal, freed offlesh^ it lives fore* er. 

Then it is well ! I'll toil with joyous face 

Sven though I die o* er-vanquished in the strife 
Of study to the end no future race 

lay on me the blame of wasted life. 

The <*JMuses 
'Tis wisely spoken. They whose fantasy 

Toward God is true and reverent, as of old, 
Shall still create some noble poesy, 

their fame the Fates shall have no hold. 



CALMLY to wait whatever Chance may give 
By Fate's decree 

<sflone brings happiness, and makes man live 
Fearless and free. 

The things of this world, owning Time's control, 

<Jfylove neath His sway ; 
But Time is swift, and swift the seasons roll 

Briefly away. 

Once knowledge dwelt beside the Nile, then passed 

To Greece alone ; 
Then Rome had joy of it, that now at last 

Taris doth own. 

Cities and kingdoms perish and make room 

For others new, 
That live awhile in glory of their bloom, 

Then perish too. 

So arm thyself in firm Philosophy 
Gainst Fate's control', 

Be nobly brave, and with her precepts high 
(fird up thy soul. 

Then whatsoever change may meet thine eyes 

Fear not at all, 
Though the abyss should rise and be the skies 

<^And the skies fall. 



TT7E 'LL purge, my friend, the humors that still 


Our life the love of money, the love of power. 
In wisdom let us strive to fashion 

Souls that are free of the heats of passion. 

We '// drive out care, be deaf to ambition's call, 
<>'4W learn to live content with our little all. 
If once the soul win calm of feeling, 
Surely the body will need no healing. 

But souls oppressed with hunger of worldly gain 
Will grow obscure and darken the reason's reign. 
ex^ little smoke when care doth slacken 
Quickly sufficeth the house to blacken. 

(jreat riches won, and riches to win once more, 
<^Slre hoards of care on care in a heaped-up store ; 
What end shall serve such toilsome questing, 
Leaving us never the time for resting ? 

From out my fancy's tablets I V/ raze all trace 
Of this enticing world with its shameless face, 
To joy of song a free heart bringing 

Oft as the Muses may ask my singing. 

Be this the only object of my desire. 

f l^ojnore to worldly gain shall my heart aspire 

vainly be with hope tormented. 
This is my kingdom to live contented. 



NCE the life that ran in my veins was stronger ; 
< 7S(ow youth burns my blood with desire no 

longer ; 

Soon my grizzled head must be disapproving 
Bondage of loving. 

Young, I served King Love, and my April squandered 
<Lx4V his valiant trooper, and bore his standard, 
Which at Menus' shrine to her care I tender, 
Forced to surrender. 

Now no more shall words of delight the sheerest, 
" Sweet, my soul, thou life of my life, my dearest," 
Thrill me. They whose hearts have new blood to 
heat them, 

Hearing, repeat them. 

I will find, to kindle my life, new physic, 
Seeking^ Truth in Physic and Metaphysic, 
Taths of worlds and stars in their orbits learning, 
(jfoing, returning. 

So, Farewell, my sonnets Farewell, sweet-singing 

Odes, Farewell the dance and the lyre's soft ringing, 

Long Farewell, O love thou must seek afar now, 

Losing f Ronsard now. 


TV/T EANS death so much ? Is it so great an ill 
^ <*Sfs most men think ? . . . Birth was not 


(jx^W we shall feel no pain when we are dead. 
Let be ! What birth began, death must fulfil. 

u But thou shalt cease to be ! " What then ? . . . 

The chill 

That leaves our bodies hueless, cold, and dread, 
Ends feeling too. The fateful Spinner's thread 

Once broken, there 's no longing, wish, nor will. 

u Thou shalt not eat." I shall have no desire 
Toward meat or drink. The body by such fare 
Lengthens its life and our dependency ; 

The spirit needs them not. " But love, the fire 
Of joy, shall fail thee." ^And I shall not care. 
He that escapes desire, at last is free. 



\ NOTHER Winter comes. The last comes soon, I 
** know. 
For six and fifty years have blanched my head with 


The time is here to say, Farewell, to love and song, 
(jv/^W take my leave of life's best days, for oh ! how 
long ! . . . 

Yet I have lived. So much stands safe beyond recall. 
I grudge not life its joys. I have tasted one and all, 
c Nor e'er refrained my hand from pleasures within 


Save but as Reason set due measure unto each. 
The part assigned me I have played on this life's 

In costume fitted to the times and to my age. 

I 've seen the morning dawn, and evening come 

I 've seen the storm, the lightning-flash, the hail, the 

Teoples I've seen, and kings ! For twenty years 

now past 
I've seen each day rise upon France as though her 


Wars I have seen, and strife of words, and terms of 

First made and then unmade again, then made by 

To break and make again / . . . I've seen that neath 

the moon 
(x^T// was but change and chance, and danced to 

Fortune's tune. 
Though man seek Prudence out for guide, it boots 

him naught ; 

Fate ineluctable doth hold him chained and caught, 
Bound hand and foot, in prison ; and all he may 


Fortune and Fate, wisely mayhap, themselves dis- 

Full-feasted of the world, even as a wedding-guest 
(joesfrom the banquet-hall, I go to my long rest ; 
s^As from a king 's great feast, I go not with ill 

Though after me one come, and take the abandoned 



I HAVE wrought my work more durable than 

<^/fndnot swift-hasting Time, nor winds, nor ram, 
Devouring waves, lightning, nor thunder-peal, 
f l^or rage of storms, shall lay it low again. 

In that last day and hour, when Death shall come 
<^And set hard sleep like stone upon my heart, 

c ]S(ot all Ronsard shall pass beneath the tomb. 
There shall remain of him the better part. 

Forever and for ever, I shall live, 

Shall fly the wide world o'er, deathless and free, 
<^And haunt the fields to which my laurels give 

Immortal fame, by changeless Fate's decree ; 

For that I joined two harpers of old time 

To the soft ringing of my ivory lyre 
^And made them Vendomese by my new rhyme. 

Up, then, my Muse ! carry to Heaven's choir 

The glory I have gained, announce the claim 

That of full right I make in song's demesne ! 
Then consecrate thy son to lasting fame 

ind his brows with laurel ever green. 


CAVES, and you, O springs 
The lofty mountain flings 
^Downward along his sides 
With leaps and glides, 

O woods, and sun-shot gleams 
Of wandering meadow -sir earns, 
<^/fnd banks with flowers gay, 
List what I say 

When Fate and Heaven decree 
^I4y hour is come to be 

Snatched from the light away 
Of common day, 

Let none bring granite stones 
To build above my bones 
^/f tomb of noble height 
In Time's despite 

< R{ot marble, but a tree 
Set to cast over me 

Shadows of billowy sheen, 
Forever green, 

<^Andfrom my earth let spring 
<L/4 ivy, garlanding 

The grave, and round it wind 
Twisted and twined. 

There shepherds with their sheep 
Coming each year to keep 
<z^l4y festival, shall pay 
Their rites, and say : 

" Fair isle, great is thy grace, 
To be his resting-place, 
While all the universe 
Repeats his verse. 

" He taught the Muses' pride 
To love our country-side, 
<Sfnd dance our flowers among, 
To songs he sung. 

" He struck his lyre on high 
Fore'er to glorify 

Our mountains, crofts, and wealds, 
^And blosmy fields. 


u Let gentle manna fall 
, above Aw pall, 

that soft and still 
Spring nights distil. 

u <^And let us keep his name, 
^And glorying in his fame 
Sach year bring him again 
Traise, as to Pan" 

Thus shall the shepherd-troop 
Speak, and from many a cup 
Tour wine and milk for food 
<^/Ind young lambs' blood 

me, who shall then 
Be dwelling far from men, 
Where happy spirits blest 
Take their long rest, 

Where Zephyr breathes his love 
O* er field and myrtle-grove 
<z^fnd meadows at all hours 
< 2^ew-decked with flowers, 


Where care comes not , nor hate, 
c j^or envy spurs the great 

To spread fell sorrow's dower 
For lust of power ; 

In brotherly good-will 
<iSflljoin, and follow still 
The crafts they used to love 
On earth above. 

, God ! to think, mine ear 
1 lyre shall hear, 
appho's, over all 
musical ! 

See how the happy throngs 
Tress near to hear their songs 
Till souls in woe rejoice 
Listing their voice, 

Till Sisyphus forget 
His rock-worn toil and sweat, 
Till Tantalus obtain 
Surcease of pain. . . . 


The sweet-toned lyre alone 
Can comfort hearts that moan 
<iSfnd charm away all cares 
Of whoso hears. 

Ronsard differ greatly, and no one of them has predom- 
inant authority. Marty-Laveaux (" CEuvres de Ron- 
sard," Edition de la Pleiade, 1 887-1 893 ) has followed 
so far as possible the edition of I 584, which has the final 
sanction of Ronsard himself ; but an almost unanimous 
judgment has pronounced this to be, in many cases, the 
poorest text. "Two or three years before his death," 
says the old biography by Colletet, "being old and af- 
flicted with the gout, and much subject to the attacks of 
melancholy, and being now almost abandoned by that 
poetic fury which had long kept him such good and 
faithful company, he made a new edition of his works 
. . . cutting out many beauteous and sprightly inven- 
tions, changing whole passages, and in place of noble 
and spirited lines, substituting others that had neither 
the force nor the fantasy of the first. For he took no 
account of this that even though he were the father 
of his own works, yet it belongeth not to peevish and 
surly old age to judge the strokes of valiant youth." 
"He changed and corrected much, and often for the 
worse," says Sainte-Beuve less picturesquely but with 
more critical authority. 

Blanchemain (" (Euvres de Ronsard," Bibliotheque 

Elzevirienne, 1857-1867) has followed as far as pos- 
sible the earliest texts. But this is going to the other 
extreme. It is perfectly obvious that many of Ronsard's 
earlier revisions, at least, were improvements, and de- 
serve to stand. Blanchemain has given many of them in 
his notes, and in the books of Selections still other vari- 
ants often appear. "If ever," says Gandar, "a critical 
edition of Ronsard's Works were attempted, the variants 
would take up fully as much space as the text. ' ' Marty - 
Laveaux, who had edited critically the works of the other 
poets of the Pleiade, gave up the attempt when he came 
to Ronsard. " We wish that we might have given for this 
poet too," he says, "as we have done for most of those 
of the Pleiade, the successive changes of reading that he 
made in his works. But they are so numerous that it 
was impossible to think of doing so." 

Any single text, therefore, is not sufficient for a know- 
ledge of Ronsard, nor is it to be trusted in judging of 
the faithfulness of the translations. If the reader, for in- 
stance, following Blanchemain' s or Becq de Fouquiere's 
text, finds ta bouche belle translated by " thy lips twin- 
mated" (CARPE DIEM, p. 52), let him not accuse me 
of having intruded a fancy of my own, perhaps for the 
sake of the rhyme, until he has examined the other texts ; 
for in Marty-Laveaux and Sainte-Beuve he will read ta 
levre jumelle. This instance is typical of a great many. 
Some of the more important ones are indicated in the 
Notes ; but to give them all would require another small 
volume. The translations are in general faithful to what- 

ever text of the passage in question seemed to me poeti- 
cally the best for there is no other standard of judging. 
In some cases I have taken the liberty of condensation ; 
never, I think, of expansion. 

INTRODUCTION. Page ix : Noble family . . . 
branches of the royal blood. See the notes to Ron- 
sard's twentieth Elegy, To REMY BELLEAU, in Blanche- 
main, iv. 298 ; and Rochambeau, " La Famille de 
Ronsart," 1868. 

Page xxii : Tasso . . . This was in 1571, when 
Tasso was twenty-three years old. See Tasso' s " Ca- 
taneo ovvero degli Idoli," and A. Dupre's "Relations 
du Tasse et de Ronsard," Vendome, 1874. 

Page xxii : Cassandre Salviati du Pre. It has gen- 
erally been thought that the name Cassandra was a crea- 
tion of the poet's classical fancy, in spite of express 
statements to the contrary by Binet and Muret, and an 
important passage of the younger poet D'Aubigne, who 
loved Cassandra's niece. Her identity has been dis- 
covered only within a year, and the strikingly romantic 
facts stated in the text have been established beyond 
question, by the researches of a student at the ficole des 
Chartes. See M. Gaston Deschamps' lectures on "La 
Poesie franchise de la Renaissance," in the "Revue des 
Cours et Conferences," May 15 and 22, 1902, with 
references there. 

Page xxix: Helen of Surgeres. See Pierre de Nol- 
hac, "Le dernier Amour de Ronsard," Paris, 1882. 

Page 4 : LOVE'S CONQUERING. The texts of this 


Sonnet, the first of the Amours," differ greatly. I 
have used those of Marty-Laveaux and Sainte-Beuve. 
Compare the beginning of Petrarch's Sonnet 190 : 

Chi vuol veder t quantunque puonatura . . . 
and of Seraphine's Strambotto :. 

Chi vuol veder gran cose altiere e nuove . . . 

quoted and imitated by Watson in the zist " Sonnet" 
of his " Hecatompathia. ' ' 

Page 5 : ONE ONLY AIM AND THOUGHT. A trans- 
lation of this sonnet, with the last two lines omitted, was 
made by Keats, and published for the first time in his 
"Life, Letters, and Literary Remains," by Lord 
Hough ton. See Forman's edition of Keats, ii. 317. 

The texts again diifer very considerably. I have used 
that of Marty-Laveaux. 

Page 6: LOVE'S CHARMING. Imitated from Pe- 
trarch, Sonnet 159 : 

Grazie, ch? a pochi 'I tie I largo destina . . . 

Page 7 : A PICTURE AND A PLEA. This is a little 
Renaissance painting, simple and exquisite. Ronsard 
has the pictorial faculty often. In a single stanza of the 
ODE TO MICHEL DE L' HOSPITAL he sketches a magnifi- 
cent Titianesque image of Jove hurling the thunder, 

Half bending down his breast, 
And lifting high his arm . . . 

With the last part of the sonnet, compare the 85th of 

Shakspere's Sonnets, and the 8th of Spenser's Amo- 

You stop my toung, and teach my hart to speake. 

Page 10 : LOVE'S WOUNDING. This is one of the 
sonnet-ideas that made the tour of Europe in the sixteenth 
century, and had one or more versions in every language. 
There is another in French, by Baif, in his "Francine," 
Book IL The earliest seems to be that by Bembo: 

Si come suol, poiche ' / v erno aspro e rio . . . 

which has been translated and paraphrased, in three dif- 
ferent forms, by Drummond of Hawthornden (Works, 
Ward's edition, ii. 123-125). Some of Drummond 's 
phrases were apparently taken from Ronsard, whom he 
does not mention, rather than from Bembo. For in- 
stance, in the next to the last line, Drummond has "In 
my young Spring," and there is nothing in Bembo sug- 
gesting this, while Ronsard has Sur /' Av ril de mon age. 
It is interesting to notice, in the Hawthornden Man- 
uscripts, published in Archaeologica Scotica, iv. 74, 
Drummond' s list of " Bookes red anno 1609, be me," 
which includes : "La Franciade de Ronsard ; Roland 
furieux, in Frenche ; Azolains de Bembe, in Frenche ; 
Amours de Ronsard ; Hymnes de Ronsard ; Les Odes 
de Ronsard ; Elegies et Ecglogues de Ronsard." In 
the following year Drummond read Bembo in Italian 
"et en Fra^ais ;" and in 1612, in Italian alone. 

There is nothing in any of the other versions to cor- 
respond to Ronsard' s third line: 

Pour mieux brouter lafeuille emmiell'ee, 

or to his Libre, folatre . . . etc. Beauties like these, of 

feeling and phrasing, and the way in which the whole 

breathes the fragrance of spring-time and of dawn, 

make Ronsard's sonnet seem the best of all the versions 

of this conventional idea. It lias the same exquisite 

flavor as La Fontaine's lines on the " Petit Lapin :" 

Iletait a lief air e a /' Aurore sa cour 

Parmi le thym et la rosee. 

This sonnet has been translated by Gary (the trans- 
lator of Dante) in his " Early French Poets," page 
1 02. He quotes Bembo's version, but does not speak 
of Drummond's. 

Page 12: CASSANDRA'S PROPHECY. From the text 
of Blanchemain. This prophecy written certainly as 
early as Ronsard's twenty-seventh year, and probably 
some years earlier was fulfilled in every point, except 
the conventional one of his dying for Cassandra's love. 
He grew gray at thirty, he died " ere evening," at sixty, 
his songs suddenly "withered, shorn of youth's fresh 
bloom," posterity "laughed his sighs to scorn," and 
made his "fame a by-word in the land." The exact- 
ness of it is almost poignantly pathetic. 

With thunder from the right . . Omen of evil. 

Page 1 6 : Like clouds in the wind it vanisheth. 
Compare Browning's "The Glove" (" Peter Ronsard 
loquitur") : 

Sire, I replied, joys prove cloudlets . . . 

Page 20 : To THE BEES. This charming lyric is 
one of those rejected by Ronsard in his over-critical old 
age, and excluded from the final edition of his works. 
POWER OF SONG, and LAUREL'S WORTH, and of the son- 

Page 22: LOVE ME, LOVE ME NOT. Compare, in 
Thomas Lodge's story of "Rosalynde," Montanus* so- 
called "Sonnet:" 

Beyond compare my pain, 

Yet glad am I, 
If gentle Phoebe daine 

To see her Montan die. 

Bullen says in his "Lyrics from Elizabethan Romances," 
page xi: "Lodge's lyric measures have frequently a 
flavor of Ronsard," and cites as an example, in "Rosa- 
lynde," the lyric beginning : "Phoebe sat" . . . 

Page 24: LOVE'S QUICKENING. I have found as 
many different versions of this important sonnet as I have 
seen texts. For the most part I follow Sainte-Beuve's, 
but for the last line, and some other less important vari- 
ants, I have taken Blanchemain's. 

This sonnet has been translated by Gary ("Early 
French Poets," page 101) and by Cosmo Monkhouse 
(Waddington's "Sonnets of Europe," page 123). 

Page 25: ... You to whom I have said, 

" You and you only ever please my heart. ' ' 

Compare Ovid: 

Elige, cui dicas, tu mihi sola places ; 
and Petrarch: 

Col dole e honor y che d* amar quella haipreso, 


(Note of Muret, 1553.) Compare also Victor Hugo : 
A qui j'ai dit : Toujours, et qui m'a dit: Partout. 

The texts again differ considerably. See Marty-La- 
veaux, i. 32, and Blanchemain, i. 40. This sonnet is 
not in any of the books of Selections from Ronsard. 

sonnet, perhaps the most beautiful in all Ronsard' s work, 
has not only not been included in any book of Selections, 
but has not been quoted or mentioned by any critic, so 
far as I can find. It is the i ooth sonnet of the first book 
of the "Amours." Blanchemain, i. 57; Marty-La- 
veaux, i. 48. 

Other instances of sonnets translated here which are 
included in no book of Selections, so far as I can find, are 
(75), IF THIS BE LOVE (77), LOVE'S FLOWER (80), 
DEATH (109) all of them among the most beautiful 
sonnets ; the same is true of the poems IN DEAR VEN- 
DOME (93), FAREWELL TO LOVE (108), and the splen- 

This gives some suggestion of the still undiscovered 
riches of Ronsard ! 

Page 27 : IN ABSENCE. I know of no other sonnet, 
in any language, so full and so compact as this one. All 
Nature and all love seem crowded into it. Yet it is all 
"of one breath," one simple phrase like many 
another of Ronsard' s, TRUE GIFT, for instance. He is 
indeed master of the sonnet-form. 

On the forest of Gastine, the river Loir, and all of 
Ronsard' s home-country, see a charming article by 
Monsieur Jusserand now Ambassador from France to 
the United States in the "Nineteenth Century," 
xli. 588-612: "Ronsard and his Vendomois." 

The direct appeal, by name, to Gastine and Loir 
was cut out in the final edition by Ronsard, and the 

Et vousy rochers, les hotes de mes vers 

substituted. This is a fair example of many unfortunate 

Page 29: ABSENCE IN SPRING. Compare Shak- 
spere, Sonnet 98. 

Page 30 : THE THOUGHT OF DEATH. Text of 
Blanchemain, i. 86. Compare Shakspere, Sonnets 
27 and 44. 

Page 3 1 : REMEMBERED SCENES. Compare Spen- 
ser, Amoretti, no. 78, and Drummond of Hawthorn- 
den, Poems, the First Part, Sonnet 46. Drummond's 
sonnet is said (Publications of the Modern Language 
Association of America, xi. 425) to have been taken 

from Petrarch's Sonnet 72 {Avventuroso piu d' altro ter- 
reno^) f but it is closer to the 76th of Petrarch (^Senuccio, 
/' V0 1 che sappi in qua I maniera), especially in the ter- 
cets, and closer to Ronsard's than to either of Petrarch's. 
See the note on page 10. Ronsard's sonnet seems the 
best of them all, in simplicity and unity. 

The texts differ considerably. I have used, for the 
most part, that of Blanchemain (i. 92) . This sonnet has 
been translated, apparently from a different text, by Lord 
Lytton (Waddington's " Sonnets of Europe," page 
120), and by Miss Katharine Hillard (Warner's Li- 
brary of the World's Best Literature) ; both of them 
make the very curious error of taking angelette for a 
proper name ! misled, perhaps, by the capitalization 
of some old edition. The sonnet plays a leading role in 
Mr. Henry Harland's story, "The Lady Paramount." 
Page 3 2 : My faithful mate who follows here and 
there. Taking the reading : 

Qui defa, qui de la t fidele y m'accompagne. 
With the lines : 

Would the nine Sisters might each season please 
To make my house with their fair gifts replete . . . 
Thyme blossoms not so sweet for honey-bees 
As their fair gifts upon my mouth are sweet . . . 

compare Theocritus, Idyl IX., lines 31-35 : 

TTTl /MV TeTTl-yi <lXoS, (MVpfJiaKL Sfi fJLVppa^, 

iprjKcs 8' tpr)w, ffjiv Se re MoTcra /cat w8a. 
ras fioi Tras CM; TrXeios 8o/x,os. ovrc yap VTTVOS 

OVT* lap ea7r/as yAvKwrepov, OVTC fieXtWats 
rovcrov ffuv Motcrat <i'Aat . . . 

(" Cicala is dear to cicala, . . . but to me the Muse 
and song. Of this may all my house be full, for neither 
sleep, nor Spring that comes unlooked-for, is more sweet 
nor flowers are more sweet to honey-bees so dear 
to me are the Muses.") 

Page 33 : THE POET'S GIFT. With this sonnet 
compare HER IMMORTALITY, page 81. The idea of 
these two sonnets often occurs elsewhere in Ronsard. 
Compare Spenser's Amoretti, 75, 82, and especially 
69. The same idea is constantly recurring in Shakspere's 
sonnets, from the iyth on. 

Page 3 8 : Aratus. Aratus was a Greek poet of the 
third century B. c., who wrote inverse a treatise on 
astronomy, called the " Phenomena. ' ' It was translated 
into Latin verse by Cicero. After Ronsard' s study of it, 
his friend Remy Belleau, another poet of the Pleiade, 
translated it into French. 

Aratus' name, if known now, is known for quite 
other reasons than his " dreary" poem on astronomy ; 
for Theocritus sang of Aratus' love in his seventh Idyl, 
and Saint Paul quoted him to the Athenians: "As cer- 
tain also of your own poets have said ..." 

The texts vary, especially in the second stanza, and 
at the end. 

Page 40: To THE HAWTHORN-TREE. "A mas- 
terpiece of grace and freshness." (Sainte-Beuve.) 

Translated by Gary ("Early French Poets," page 

Rival camps of scurrying ants 

from the reading : 

Deux camps de drillants four mis. 

Nightingale the chorister 

Le chantre rossignolet. 

In thy top t etc. 

Sur ta cime ilfait son nid 

Eien garni 
De laine et define soie. 

Page 45 : MARIE, ARISE. " These mignardises are 
fairer in their simplicity than all the subtle inventions of 
the Spanish and some of the Italians." (Note of Bel- 
leau, 1560.) 

Page 52 : Dost think to kiss King Pluto* s mouth" etc. 
This is imitated by Watson in his " Hecatompa- 
thia," the last part of "Sonnet" 27. Watson has also 
imitated Ronsard, avowedly, in his 54th and 83d "Son- 
nets," and unavowedly in his 92d, which is taken from 
LOVE'S ATTRIBUTES, page 13. Both Ronsard and Wat- 
son may have taken some suggestions from Phaedrus 
(iii. 17), but in very important variations from Phae- 
drus Watson seems to follow Ronsard. 

Page 54: LOVE'S LESSON. Compare Catullus: 

Soles occidere et redire possunt ; 
Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux, 
Nox est perpetua una dormienda. 
Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, etc. 

Page 6 1 : NATURE'S DRINKING-SONG. Imitated 
directly from the Anacreontea, no. 1 9 (Bergk, " Poetae 
lyrici Graeci," fourth edition, iii. 310). 

Page 62: The coming morrows' time (Le temps 
futur du lendemairi} . Compare Horace : 
Quid sit futurum eras, fuge quaerere. 

Page 63 :. . . Estienne, 

Who saved from Lethe* s treasures . . . etc. 
The Anacreontea were discovered and published from 
the manuscript by Ronsard's friend, the famous printer 
and humanist Henry Estienne, in 1554. They were 
soon translated, entire, by Remy Belleau. See Ron- 
Sard's ode to him, beginning: Tu es un trop sec bibe- 
ron . . . 

Page 64 : THE PRAISE OF ROSES. Imitated, in 
part, from the Anacreontea, no. 5 (Bergk, iii. 322). 

This is Ronsard's best-known lyric. It has been trans- 
lated by Mr. Andrew Lang ("Ballads and Lyrics 
of Old France"), by Miss Hillard (Library of the 
World' s Best Literature) , and, anonymously, in ' ' Poems 
You Ought to Know," published by the Chicago Tri- 

Page 70: LIFE'S ROSES. This is Ronsard's best- 

known sonnet. The text can be found in any anthology, 
and fortunately there are only two slight variants one 
of them, however, important: in the second line, the best 
reading is certainly d'evidant ("winding thread") and 
not devisant ("gossiping"). 

It has been translated by Mr. Lang (in "Grass of 
Parnassus"), by Miss Hillard, and by Mr. C. Kegan 
Paul ( Waddington's "Sonnets of Europe"), and para- 
phrased by Thackeray. The translation by Mr. Lang is 
perhaps the best existing version in English of anything 
by Ronsard. But he does not render either d'evidant or 
devisant ', and unfortunately omits altogether the en vous 
emerveillant, at the end of the third line that touch 
of ever-new wonder at the beauty of the old songs, and 
of ever-new amazement that they were written for that 
maiden who so strangely was and is not she. 

Page 74: That Lady . . . "He signified! the 
Helen of the Greeks, who ravished even those that by 
hearsay had conceived but an imagination and fantasy of 
her beauty." (Note of Nicholas Richelet. ) 

Page 76: WITH FLOWERS. Compare the Greek 
Anthology: "I send thee, Rhodoclea, this crown that 
with my own hands I have woven thee, of beauteous 
flowers ; there is a lily, a rosebud, a wet anemone, a 
warm narcissus/ and the darkly bright violet. Wear thou 
this crown, and cease to be too proud. For thou dost 
bloom and die thou, and the crown." (Quoted 
by Sainte-Beuve, " Causeries du Lundi," Oct. 13, 


Time passes swift, my love, ah ! swift it flies ! 
Yet no not Time, alas! but we we pass. 

See Mr. Austin Dobson's variations on the theme of these 
two lines, in "The Paradox of Time " (Old- World 
Idyls, page 175). 

Page 79 : LOVE'S RECORDING. This is the sonnet 
beginning, in Blanchemain's text: 

Fauche,gar$on, d'une mainpilleresse, 
Le bel esmail de la verte saison, 
Puts apleinpoing en-jonche la maison 

Desfleurs qu 1 Avril enfante en sajeunesse. 

It has been translated by Lord Lytton (Waddington, 
" Sonnets of Europe," page 121 ) from a very different 

Page 80: LOVE'S FLOWER. Blanchemain, i. 54: 
Prens cette rose . . . This is another of the many beauti- 
ful sonnets included in no book of Selections. See note 
on page 26. 

Page 8 5 : 'Twixr LOVE AND DEATH. Blanchemain, 
i. 366. This is the last of Ronsard's love-sonnets. 
Charles IX. died on May 30, 1 574. However weak he 
may have been as a king and he is doubtless painted 
worse than he was he was a generous and on the 
whole intelligent patron of the arts, and a close friend, 
almost comrade, of Ronsard, who saw his best side, 
and seems to have had a sincere love for him. They 
exchanged verses on several occasions. The follow- 

ing are the best known among those attributed to the 
king : 

To be a poet is a higher thing, 
Whatever men say, than even to, be a king! 
We both alike bear crowns whose glory lives, 
But kings receive them, and the poet gives. 
Thy mind, onjire with Heaven's especial Grace, 
Shines of itself, I by my height of place. 
If toward the Gods our rank I seek to try, 
Thou art their favorite, and their image I. 
Thy Muse with sweet accords men* s passion binds 
Though I their bodies, thou dost sway their minds ; 
Thy mastership is such, it makes thee rule 
Where proudest tyrants ne'er have he Id contra I. 
I can give men their death by my decree ; 
But thou canst give them immortality. 

Unfortunately some doubt must be felt about the authen- 
ticity of these lines. The style of a later age seems to 
show through, even in the translation. 

Page 86: COUNSEL FOR KINGS. Blanchemain, vii. 
37-38, passim. This advice, somewhat in the Polonius 
vein, was addressed to Charles IX. It at least shows 
Ronsard's independent attitude toward the court. 

Blanchemain, v. 304. 

England's Queen. After the death of Mary Tudor, 
the Guises induced Mary Stuart, then Dauphine of 

J 34 

France, to assume the sovereignty of England. Accord- 
ing to the point of view which did not recognize the 
marriage of Henry VIII. with Anne Boleyn, Mary 
Stuart was the legitimate heir to the throne of England, 
through her grandmother Margaret, the daughter of 
Henry VII. 

She was Queen of France from June, I 559, to De- 
cember, 1560. 

Page 88 : REGRET. This consists of two frag- 
ments from a long poem on the fortunes of Mary Stu- 
art ; Blanchemain, vi. 24, 26. 

Page 89 : THE SAME SUBJECT. This is the begin- 
ning of a much longer poem ; Blanchemain, vi. 10. 

" There is more true and earnest feeling in some 
little verses by Ronsard on the unhappy Queen of Scots, 
than in all the elegant, fanciful, but extravagant flattery 
of Elizabeth' s poets." No wonder, for she possessed 
the beauty and the charm which Elizabeth, with all her 
power, lacked. The men of the Renaissance saw Beauty 
born anew, and worshipped Her, like their masters the 
Greeks. Ronsard goes even further than Homer, and 
makes the old men on the Trojan wall say of Helen : 

Not a II our ills are worth one look of hers! 

Mary Stuart was the Helen of the Renaissance. We 
need have no sympathy with those over-zealous advo- 
cates who would whitewash away all the crimson color 
of her life. She sinned greatly, no doubt. But she was 
still more sinned against. Ronsard knew her in the 

sweet purity and wonderful precocious charm of her 
girlhood as Queen of France, and remained loyal to her 
through long misfortune and captivity as the splen- 
did arraignment and appeal of the next sonnet, written 
only the year before his death, will show. 

Page 1 04 : LIFE-PHILOSOPHY. This poem has 
been translated by Miss Hillard, who compares it with 
Chaucer* s < < Ballad of Good Counsel. * ' Compare also 
Horace* s Ode iii. of Book iii. : 

Justum et tenacem propositi virum . . . 
especially the lines : 

Si fractus illabatur orbis 
Impavidum ferient ruinae. 

Page 1 08 : FAREWELL TO LOVE. Though Ron- 
sard calls these verses " Sapphics," the Sapphic stanza 
properly speaking cannot exist in French. What Ron- 
sard uses is probably the nearest possible equivalent for 
it a stanza consisting of three eleven-syllable lines 
with caesura after the fifth syllable, followed by one five- 
syllable line, and rhyming as in the translation, except 
that in this poem, and in all his " Sapphics," Ronsard 
confines himself to masculine rhymes. 

Page 112: PERMANET GLORIA. Compare Horace, 
Ode xxx. of Book iii. : 

Exegi monumentum aere perennius, 
and the whole ode. Compare also Ovid: 

Jamque opus exegi, quod nee Jo vis ira, nee ignes 
Nee poterit ferrum, nee edax abolere vetustas. 

Two harpers of old time. Pindar and Horace. 

Page 113 : RONSARD'S TOMB. Blanchemain, ii. 
249 ; and most books of Selections. Some stanzas of 
this poem have been translated by Mr. Lang, in 
" Rhymes a la Mode." There is also a translation of 
the whole poem, by J. P. M., in Blackwood's Maga- 
zine, cxxxvi. 716. 

By the beauty of its Nature- worship, its joy in Song, 
its quiet acceptance of life and of death, the simplicity 
of its expression, and the purity of its form, this poem 
is one of the few modern examples of perfect classic